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Highlights From Henley Festival 2018 By The Luxury Channel

The famous Henley fireworks (image courtesy of Henley Festival and Garry Jones)

A real highlight of the British Summer Season, Henley Festival kicked off on Wednesday 11th July. The festival screening of the World Cup Semi-Final match between England and Sweden was watched by hundreds of black-tie festival goers sipping champagne. Rita Ora even delayed her opening headline set by an hour to ensure festival goers could enjoy the football. Ora then proceeded to wow the crowed with renditions of her pop hits including For You and Girls, as fireworks exploded overhead (this year, the famous Henley fireworks were put on by Titanium, the firework company behind the 2012 Olympics).

Rita Ora performing (image courtesy of Henley Festival and Victor Frankowski)

On the following night, legendary 70s singer and icon Grace Jones kept the crowds waiting for nearly an hour before appearing on stage wearing white body paint and a gold skull, telling the audience that she couldn’t come out until after the sun went down. Jones went through a total of eight costume changes as she ran through her classic hits La Vie En Rose and Love Is The Drug. She ended her set by coming out into the crowd wearing a huge white wig and riding on the back of a security guard during Pull Up To The Bumper.

Grace Jones (image courtesy of Henley Festival and Victor Frankowski)

Friday night saw Nile Rodgers with his band Chic take to the Floating Stage with some of the biggest hits of the last 50 years. Festival goers took to their feet as they danced the night away to hits including Get Lucky, I’m Coming Out, Le Freak and Lost In Music. Nile then invited members of the festival audience onto the stage to dance with him for We Are Family.

Nile Rodgers points to the crowd (image courtesy of Henley Festival and Garry Jones)

On Saturday, festival goers were treated to a night of Frank Sinatra by Ronnie Scott’s Big Band, with American jazz vocalist Curtis Stigers performing some of Sinatra’s biggest songs including Fly Me To The Moon and All That Matters To Me. Stigers was joined onstage by British comedian Rob Brydon who sang Fly Me To The Moon in the voices of famous people including Alan Bennett, Michael Cain, Ronnie Corbett and Roger Moore.

Rob Brydon and Curtis Stigers (image courtesy of Henley Festival and Garry Jones)

The Festival came to a triumphant close on Sunday night with the English National Orchestra under the baton of ENO Music Director Martyn Brabbins performing operatic favourites Carmen, The Marriage of Figaro, Madam Butterfly, and Turandot as well as a little Gilbert & Sullivan, with award-winning young Welsh Soloist Natalya Romaniw taking the female solo parts.

The English National Orchestra in full swing (image courtesy of Henley Festival andRob Brydon and Victor Frankowski)

For the first time this year, Henley partnered with BBC Introducing Berkshire who picked five up-and-coming local artists to performing on the Floating Stage ahead of the headline concert each night. Our favourite act was Cecil, who told us that “being on the Floating Stage is quite an experience – Henley is an amazing festival!” Read our full interview with Cecil here.

Cecil (image courtesy of Henley Festival and Garry Jones)

The comedy line-up was no less starry, with stellar performances from some of the biggest names in British comedy including Phil Jupitus, Paul Merton, Jon Culshaw, Lee Nelson, Lucy Porter, Mark Watson and Dominic Holland as well as up-and-coming comics Flo & Joan, best known for being on the Nationwide adverts. The girls told us that “Henley is brilliant, and it’s nice to perform to people who are dressed up. Although it’s probably the first time we have played to people in black tie!” Read our full interview here.

Flo & Joan

Some of the biggest names in contemporary art exhibited brand new works at the Festival in the pop-up galleries across the site. The Alex Hammersley Art pop-up gallery in particular was a huge success, showcasing art works from some of Britain’s most talented artists, including Michael Bennett, David Cass, Holly Frean, Nicola Green, Marcus Hodge and Biddy Hodgkinson. Alex Hammersley Art is well-known for sourcing original, contemporary art work for a wide range of clients, from private individuals to corporations. Always on the lookout for interesting and exciting talent, AHA finds artists whose unique works satisfy a range of tastes and styles, and the art on show at their Festival pop-up certainly typified this.

Alex Hammersley (left) with a range of unique art works (image courtesy of Henley Festival and
Alex Hammersley Art)

Scottish sculpture and Turner prize nominee David Mach showcased his monumental Spike sculpture – a leopard made entirely out of coat hangers, alongside photo collages made specially for Henley and brand-new works form his Commando series.

David Mach’s Spike (image courtesy of Henley Festival and Garry Jones)

Charlotte Geeves, Henley Festival Director, said “2018 has been a fantastic year for Henley Festival, with the return of the fireworks and classical concerts with Henley Symphony Orchestra on Saturday and the English National Opera on Sunday, as well as electric performances from Nile Rodgers, Grace Jones and Rita Ora. Once again, Henley Festival has lived up to its reputation one of the most glamourous events in the summer calendar. We are thrilled that we had three sell-out nights during the festival and that festival goers have been generously supporting this year’s chosen charities – the Charlie Waller Memorial and The Teenage Wilderness Trust.”

Henley Festival from the air (image courtesy of Henley Festival and Victor Frankowski)

Overall, some 25,000 people attended the Festival over the five days, with 250 people arriving by boat and mooring to the side of the festival site, with an additional 1000 people partying from their boats each night as they glided past the Festival on the river.

For more information about Henley Festival, go to www.henley-festival.co.uk.

Royal Ascot In Numbers By The Luxury Channel

The countdown to Royal Ascot – one of the most iconic summer events of the British sporting and social calendar – has begun. On Tuesday 19th June, Ascot Racecourse will open its gates for five days of world-class racing, pageantry, high fashion and fine dining. The Racecourse was established at the behest of Queen Anne in 1711. The centrepiece of Ascot’s racing calendar, Royal Ascot is first thought to have taken place at Ascot in 1768 and is now arguably the world’s most famous race meeting. It has been attended by British Monarchs ever since its inception and at 2pm each day, the Royal Procession in which HM The Queen, along with her family and guests, parade up the Straight Mile into the Parade Ring in landaus led by four Windsor greys. Increasingly in recent years, the Royal Meeting attracts some of the best horses from around the globe, with horses from as far as the USA and Australia set to be in the line-up across the 30 races. The Luxury Channel will be in attendance on Gold Cup Day, but ahead of this most famous meeting, we bring you Royal Ascot in numbers….

Galileo Gold, ridden by Frankie Dettori, beats Awtaad (centre) and The Gurkha (right) in The St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot on 14th June 2016 (image courtesy of Steven Cargill of
Racing Fotos)

The Races

Royal Ascot will feature 19 Group Races, including eight Group Ones, with total prize money across the 5 days in excess of £7.3m. Around 300,000 guests are expected to attend the Royal Meeting this year to witness the spectacle, with 70,000 racegoers attending Thursday’s Gold Cup Day, all of whom will be greeted by the racecourse’s 163 full-time personnel and 6,500 temporary staff.

The Grounds

Ascot’s dedicated grounds team will cultivate and bed-in more than 13,000 flowers and plants across the 179-acre racecourse especially for the event. Grass is cut to a regulation 4 inches for the Flat Season and 3 miles of bunting is to be installed.

The Food

35,000 guests alone will enjoy fine dining or lunch service in a private box during the event and world-renowned chefs Raymond Blanc OBE, Phil Howard, Simon Rogan, Adam Handling and James Tanner are all involved this year, boasting 5 Michelin stars and 13 AA Rosettes between them. Fine dining has always been an important ingredient of the Royal Ascot experience with 330 chefs covering 12 restaurants, 17 private dining facilities and more than 200 private boxes. During the event, 5000kg of salmon, 5000 Angus steaks and 2400kg of beef sirloin, 7000 rumps of English lamb, 3500 fresh lobsters and 8000 Cornish crabs will be served to guests. Synonymous with Afternoon Tea, the Royal Meeting will also serve 240,000 hand-crafted cakes, 120,000 buttermilk scones, 80,000 cups of tea, 60,000 finger sandwiches, 7,000 punnets of mixed berries and 1,200kg of Cornish clotted cream, served across all enclosures.

Further Information

Tickets are available from £37 to £88. Please note the Village and Windsor Enclosures have now SOLD OUT for Saturday 23rd June.
Please visit www.ascot.co.uk/royalascot, or call +44 (0)344 346 3000.

Henley Festival 2018 – What To Look Forward To By The Luxury Channel

Now in its 36th year, Henley Festival – the UK’s most glamorous boutique festival – is returning to its spectacular setting on the riverbank in Henley-on-Thames from 11th – 15th July 2018.

As the UK’s only black tie boutique festival, Henley Festival is glamour personified, offering Michelin-starred food, award-winning comedians, Turner Prize nominated artists and the biggest names in popular, world, jazz and classical music. Many festival-goers arrive by boat, and the green lawns of the Festival are transformed into a Great Gatsby vision, as black tie clad revellers spill across the festival site, champagne in hand, while fireworks explode overhead.

The Headliners On The Floating Stage

Following the release of her long-awaited album in Spring 2018, Rita Ora will open Henley Festival 2018 on the Wednesday night. The global pop star, with four No.1 hit songs to her name, will get the Festival off to an explosive start with her 2017 hit singles, Your Song and Anywhere.

A lifelong provocateur, Grace Jones will light up Henley Festival with an energetic headline set that is guaranteed to include a string of costume changes and dance-club hits, including her acclaimed reinvention of Piaf’s classic La Vie En Rose. One of the world’s most iconic women, singers, songwriters, supermodels, actresses and infamous Bond Girl, Grace Jones’ daring and original headline set will surely be one of the highlights of the Festival.

Among music legends, Nile Rodgers is truly exceptional. He amplifies his legacy as a multi-Grammy-winning composer, producer, arranger and guitarist by constantly traversing new musical terrain and successfully expanding the boundaries of popular music. As the co-founder of CHIC, Rodgers pioneered a musical language that generated chart-topping pop hits like Le Freak, sparked the advent of hip-hop with Good Times, and won CHIC eleven Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominations. More recently, he has worked with Daft Punk, Avicii, Disclosure, and Sam Smith.

Saturday night at Henley Festival will see Curtis Stigers and The Ronnie Scott’s Big Band present Sinatra At The Sands. Internationally acclaimed American jazz vocalist Curtis Stigers will channel the hip, swinging chemistry of Frank Sinatra and the Count Basie Orchestra for a brilliant night which will fly the Henley audience to the moon. Curtis Stigers and the Ronnie Scott’s Orchestra will also be joined by a very special guest – the actor, writer, comedian and impressionist, Rob Brydon. The star of the memorable BBC drama Gavin & Stacey and chair of BBC’s hit panel game show Would I Lie To You?, Rob will bring his trademark comic style and vocal impressions to Saturday night’s Floating Stage concert.

Henley Festival will close in true style on the Sunday night with one of the UK’s foremost opera companies, the English National Opera, performing with the award-winning young welsh Soloist Natalya Romaniw, full orchestra and chorus, and under the baton of ENO Music Director Martyn Brabbins. Their repertoire is taken from many of the greatest operas including Carmen, The Marriage of Figaro, Madam Butterfly and Turandot, as well as a little Gilbert & Sullivan to top the night off.

The Stellar Comedy Line-up

The 2018 comedy line-up is set to be bigger and better than ever, with the likes of Paul Merton, Lucy Porter, Mark Watson and Dominic Holland among the biggest names of the 25 comedians performing at this year’s Festival. The comedy line-up will also include a very special evening of unscripted, unrehearsed and spontaneous comedy from Dead Ringers’ impressionists Jon Culshaw and legendary comedy producer Bill Dare in their sell-out show, The Great British Take Off. In addition, up-and-coming comics including Suzi Ruffell, Rhys James, Flo & Joan and Adam Rowe will also be keeping audiences entertained, as well as jaw-achingly funny cabaret from Tina C and Vellma Celli.

Folk Music In The Bedouin Tent

Enter The Bedouin Tent for a real taste of folk. Henley will be presenting up-and-coming folk music names including “alt-bluegrass” act The Coal Porters, who demonstrate the foot stomping power of fiddle, mandolin, banjo, acoustic guitar and doghouse bass when matched with four-part harmonies. Winner of the 2009 BBC Young Folk Awards, Megan Henwood began writing songs in her early teens including her poignant song about relationship abuse, White Lies, from her debut album “Making Waves.” Firmly established in the roots scene, Maz O’Connor is a folk force to be reckoned with, and the simplicity of her music recalls the starkly beautiful Cumbrian landscape of her childhood. Solasta are an outstanding folk ensemble known for their inventive arrangements, unique sound and exhilarating live performances. Comprised of award-winning fiddler Elisabeth Flett, cellist Hannah Thomas and guitarist Jamie Leeming, their dynamic interpretations of Celtic-based material are rooted firmly in tradition. Art Deco Band Le Bistrotet was formed as the result of recordings made for the soundtrack of the Oscar winning movie, The Theory of Everything – expect classic Vaudeville and European café-bar music.

Food By A Michelin Star Chef

A festival for food lovers, Henley caters for all tastes offering a huge number of restaurants and pop-ups from street food to fine dining. For the 2018 festival, Michelin-starred chef Angela Hartnett MBE will be taking the reins of Europe’s biggest field restaurant, creating a bespoke menu exclusively for Henley, at the Riverside Restaurant. Angela’s astonishingly creative, flawlessly executed dishes focus on purity of flavour and reverence for ingredients. Angela admitted that she is “absolutely delighted to be working closely with the Henley Festival for the first time and to serve the food that I love at such a great and iconic event.”

Dramatic Visual Arts

Henley Festival is one of the very few festivals to showcase artwork from some of Britain’s most talented artists, photographers and galleries. Henley is hugely excited to announce that this year, the Festival will be showcasing work from the Turner Prize nominated artist and Royal Acamadician David Mach; Britain’s father of landscape photographer and founder of the Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards, Charlie Waite; award-winning sculptures by Rosamond Lloyd and will also be collaborating with the contemporary art curator and aboriginal art collector Jennifer Guerrini Maraldi.

Fireworks

Henley Festival is topped off by a jaw-dropping overhead firework display. The display this year will be designed by Titanium Fireworks, the team who have put on some of the UK’s biggest firework shows in the last decade, including the 2012 London Olympics, the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the London New Year’s Eve Fireworks and Hogmanay in Edinburgh, as well as pyrotechnics for some of the biggest names in music including Adele, Will Smith, Coldplay and Take That. Henley Festival is currently the only music festival that Titanium works with.

For more information about Henley Festival, click here and to book tickets, click here.

Positive Luxury – Positive Week By The Luxury Channel

Positive Week is a celebration of a mission created by Positive Luxury to inspire people to buy better, and to influence brands to do better. Now into its fifth year, Positive Week runs from 2nd to 8th October, and each day of the week will focus on a particular pillar of positive business – environmental, social, governance, philanthropy and innovation – to highlight how brands to trust are committed to doing good across these key areas.

Positive Week is supported by ambassadors Gillian Anderson and Storm Keating. “I proudly and wholeheartedly support Positive Luxury, as they are making it easier for people to make better choices,” Anderson said. “By putting a spotlight on those brands that are committed to important issues, such as the environment and society at large, a broad step is made towards a mindful marketplace.” Keating added, “Positive Luxury is….doing such important work, helping to change the face of consumerism for the better and shaping the way luxury brands do business. Positive Luxury is encouraging even more brands to integrate sustainability into their business processes, in order to benefit the generations to come.”

With several events organised over the course of the week, there are many ways businesses can get on board to become more positive with their practices.

Monday 2nd October

Location:
The Pompadour Ballroom at Hotel Cafe Royal, 68 Regent Street, Soho, London W1B 4DY

Time:
8:00 am – 10:00 am

The Event:
Presented by Positive Luxury Co-Founder and CEO Diana Verde Nieto, inspirational thought leaders will share insights on best practices and the benefits of being a brand that cares.

Background:
Diana will explain how sustainability is an overused, meaningless and “unsexy” word; however, mindful consumers care about brands that reflect their values whilst having a positive social and environmental impact on the world. Thereafter, Diana will introduce each speaker, and will open with the question addressed to the panel as a whole: in today’s world, why does doing business responsibly make better business from a bottom-line perspective?

Speakers:
Daniella Vega – Head of Sustainability at Selfridges
Jo Blake – Head of Brand Communications at Forevermark
Marie Chassot – Senior Vice President of Marketing at Baume & Mercier
Mark Ferguson – Co-Chief Investment Officer at Generation Investment Management

Wednesday 4th October

Location:
6TH@SOHO, 6th Floor, 33 Broadwick Street, London W1F ODQ

Time:
6:15 pm – 7:45 pm

The Event:
Positive Week Ambassador Storm Keating will be presenting in an inspiring VIP panel discussion on positive living, titled “Positive Story-Telling: Re-Writing The Narrative.” Borrowing the skills of renowned visionaries and advocates including Stephen Webster, Trinny Woodall and Julietta Dexter, the focus will be on how an inspiring narrative enables brands – and individuals – to connect with an audience that cares.

Background:
Storm Keating will introduce herself as a Positive Luxury Ambassador and give background to her personal conviction for positive living.
Thereafter, Storm will introduce each speaker, and will open with the question addressed to the panel as a whole: how can we re-write the negative narrative behind “sustainability” and positive living?

Speakers:
Storm Keating – TV Producer and Positive Luxury Ambassador
Stephen Webster MBE – Jewellery Designer and Chairman at House of Garrard
Trinny Woodall – TV Personality and Stylist
Julietta Dexter – CEO and Founder of The Communications Store

Live Streaming of Events

If you can’t get a ticket to attend or are simply just too far away, Positive Luxury will be streaming the events in real time on Facebook Live and Instagram Live. A video link will also be posted after the event, in case you want to catch all the details. For further information about Positive Week, go to www.positiveluxury.com.

The Gold Standard – Goldie At Henley By Fiona Sanderson

Goldie performing at Henley Festival (image courtesy of Henley Festival and Victor Frankowski)

Goldie was the headlining Saturday night act on the famous Floating Stage at Henley Festival this year, where he performed an orchestral version of his seminal 1995 album Timeless with The Heritage Orchestra. The classical reworking of one of the most influential albums of the last 20 years was performed against Henley’s stunning riverbank setting.

Goldie is known as the father of UK Drum & Bass and for revolutionising the genre into the mainstream. The multi-MOBO award-winning pioneer is one of only a handful of artists to have co-written a song with the late David Bowie, and he was awarded an MBE by Prince Charles last year for his contribution to the British Music Industry. He has just released his latest album The Journey Man. Goldie’s acting credits include the 1999 James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, Guy Ritchie’s Snatch (2000) and EastEnders. I caught up with him just before he took to the stage to talk players, politics and how to be a musician if you can’t read music….

You are playing the orchestral version of Timeless tonight – tell me what this album means to you, and the impact it had on music culture at the time?

You have this record that they said would never last, that they said was outrageous but I knew that it was insightful and would break English culture, taking American break beat – as in American drummers drumming – and adding sounds and resonance from rave culture at the time. Timeless has stood the test of time – it’s still cited. But I love the challenges that I have had. Muhammad Ali said that if you get to 50 and you are thinking the same thing that you were thinking at 30 then you haven’t learnt very much about life. What I have learnt is that it is good for me to go the hard way round and to understand that opportunity and choice is what makes your luck. People say to me, you are very lucky, but that’s not the case. I took the right choices although I also made some bad ones, but I created opportunities and so I have never looked back. I think trauma can make people run, but it’s knowing when to stop. A lot of kids today, you can’t keep them still. Technology is not helping them. It’s making them vibrate too quickly, but you have to tell them to get out from behind their computers. I am very happy that music can be healing and the new album, The Journey Man, has been a real healing process. I think there’s a truthfulness in music, that if you apply the truth as an artist, nothing can be a failure, and good song-writing generally will stand the test of time. I challenge anyone because Timeless was a ground-breaking album but The Journey Man is a better album – it’s a newer me. I couldn’t have made it any earlier. It’s a beautiful widescreen sound, like Dr. Zhivago; it’s what David Lean was good at. Wide space and really challenging the jazz musician. This is a kid who can’t read music, man, and I am challenging players! I am actually an electronic artist that can’t notate because I am dyslexic, so I will sing all these songs you will hear tonight but they were sung into an iPhone or a recorder at one time. I don’t know an F Sharp, I don’t know what G minor is but I would give these recordings to people that can help me notate. So with Saturnz Return, the second album that I did, that was a 60-minute orchestration. But I was berated – I was nailed to the cross for this piece. With Timeless, that for me was a coming-of-age album that reflected on ten years of funk and soul that influenced me in the 80s. But I think The Journey Man surpasses that in so many ways. It’s my magnum opus. It just is. And if I can’t get my craft right after 20 fucking years, then there is something seriously wrong with me!

Goldie performing at Henley Festival (image courtesy of Henley Festival and Victor Frankowski)

What about the country today – what is your thinking on the political turmoil in the UK?

This is nothing new – we were in turmoil before with the miners’ strikes and Scargill, we were in turmoil when the punks went mad, so it’s not a new story. It’s just the worst in a story because of a latency of geographical growth. You know what graphs are – we all learnt them at school, so you should know whom you are letting into the country but everyone is questioning it. My father came into the country on a banana boat, as they say. He worked in Dagenham, Leeds; he worked hard. So, people are helping the growth of the country that you are building, only to be put in hives or whatever it may be, and it’s not right. We are very lucky with what we have and I think there is a disparity with that to be addressed. I am all about people making wealth but there are certain people who are too rich and I think there is something about wealth and respect and being due diligent with what we have.

Goldie performing at Henley Festival (image courtesy of Henley Festival and Victor Frankowski)

You do a lot of work with kids – what are their frustrations and how do we help them?

I have been in the position where kids stop me all the time – I see both the happy and the sad ones, and see their attention spans change very quickly. I see it all at a molecular level, so that’s where the change is. The whole thing about fabric and nightclubs – why don’t we sound proof them, why don’t we get safe transport to these places? The Arts is not going away. In the 70s, they stopped kids trying to go and see The Beatles, didn’t they? I want readers of this interview to remember one thing – you were a young girl or boy once, and if you take away the layers of that – let’s not chastise them for doing the same things that we did. In some way, I think we have almost become jealous of what they do and the freedom they have. Let’s guide them a little bit more. I practise yoga, I have been a practioner for 7 years, and I think it should be taught in prisons and schools – we need that.

Goldie performing at Henley Festival (image courtesy of Henley Festival and Victor Frankowski)

What’s the future for Goldie? You’ve done most things – such as acting, art, graffiti, composing, DJ-ing – but what’s next?

I am working on the movie of Timeless doing the cinematography – something that I have always wanted to make. I am directing, and I have lovely partner who is going to help me write it. I always wanted to make Timeless somewhat about the issues that we are dealing with now, which I knew was coming. It’s about a kid’s illness, his struggle with temporal lobe dysfunction, a type of epilepsy, and he’s had his share of troubles living in an inner-city estate. It’s about the art, about knowing where you fit in and a lot of these kids have seen the world in a different way. We are all going mad and when the adults lose the plot, what hope is there for the young ones?

Goldie’s new album, The Journey Man, is out on 16th June. For more information, visit the website at: www.goldie.co.uk. For more information about Henley Festival, visit the website at: www.henley-festival.co.uk.

British Polo Day Celebrates Its 60th Event By The Luxury Channel

On Saturday 24th June, British Polo Day Great Britain celebrated its 60th event, in Helnley-on-Thames. Having held 59 invitation-only events in 16 countries since 2009, the annual series of events always returns to home turf for the English Summer before completing the year in the Far East with events in China, the Indonesian island of Nihiwatu, and India.

The success of British Polo Day has been largely down to word-of-mouth endorsement from many guests and supporters, including key figures in government, the aristocracy, the military, fashion, art and popular culture. In addition, British Polo Day has hosted members of 12 royal families, 100 independent billionaires and leaders in world innovation including Sir Richard Branson and Elon Musk. Over 20,000 guests have enjoyed British Polo Day in the last seven years, and British Polo Days have to date raised over $2 million USD, from a standing start in 2011.

Celebrating the history and heritage of polo, the Henley event was a high calibre sporting spectacle with the number one male player in the world, Argentinian Adolfo Cambiaso, playing his first exhibition match. The top female player in the world, Brit Nina Clarkin, also competed. Over 100 top British and international players have played at British Polo Day since its inception and this year was no exception, with well-known names in the polo world such as HH Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur, former England Captain Malcolm Borwick, Lord Wrottesley, and The Hon Tristan Phillimore all playing.

Play commenced with home side Black Bears Vs KIG Polo, followed by British Schools Vs The Rest Of The World. The highlight of the opening game was undoubtedly the chance to watch the Cambiaso family take the field, with Adolfo joining forces with daughter Mia, and son Peroto representing the Black Bears. It was evident that the Cambiaso name will continue to dominate polo for years to come, with Peroto in particular relishing the dual against his father. Ultimately neither side could break away though, with KIG owner Bash Kazi taking the ‘‘Most Valuable Player’’ award in a game that ended all square at five goals each.

The second game saw the British Schools side coming up against The Rest Of The World. With England international Malcolm Borwick controlling the game for the British side, they never looked in danger of losing. British number two Henry Porter set the tone early on with arguably the goal of the day, and a late intervention from Malcolm Borwick secured their 5-4 victory.

The next events for this year will be China in September under the patronage of Mr Lieu Shi Li, and then in October the Britannia Elevation: Global Gathering in Nihiwatu under the patronage of Chris Burch and James McBride. The year then closes with two events in India, Jaipur under the patronage of Her Highness Rajmata Padmini Devi of Jaipur, and Jodhpur under the patronage of His Highness Gaj Singh II The Maharaja of Marwar-Jodhpur. In 2018, British Polo Day is very excited to be adding the USA to the list of destinations.

For more information on British Polo Day, please visit www.britishpoloday.com.

Henley Festival – Music, Comedy And Creativity By The Luxury Channel

Henley Festival

Henley Festival, the UK’s most glamorous boutique festival and winner of Headline Performance of The Year at the 2016 Festival Awards, is returning to its spectacular setting on the riverbank in Henley-on-Thames from 5th – 9th July 2017.

Pet Shop Boys will be performing at Henley Festival

The Floating Stage

Grammy-award-winning singer-songwriter Jess Glynne will open the 2017 Festival, performing her string of number one hits including Hold My Hand and Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself on the iconic Floating Stage on Wednesday 5th July. The second evening of the Festival sees The Pet Shop Boys, the most successful duo in UK music history with three Brit Award wins and six Grammy nominations to their name, take to the stage with their acclaimed Super Tour show. On Friday 7th July, the Queen of Funk, international music icon and ten-time Grammy winner, Chaka Khan, will delight festival-goers with her classic hits. On Sunday 9th July, the final night, world-conquering ‘90s girl group and one of the most successful girl bands of all time, All Saints will bring the Festival to an unforgettable close, but not before a stunning set by former Spice Girl Melanie C, taking to the stage with songs old and new.

Chaka Khan, All Saints and Melanie C will be performing at Henley Festival

A Stellar Line-Up of Stand-Up Comedy

The comedy line-up this year is set to be bigger and better than ever, with the likes of Andy Parsons, Seann Walsh, Sara Pascoe, Joel Dommett, Mark Dolan, Russell Kane and Matt Forde will be keeping audiences entertained. The comedy line up will also include a very special performance by Angus Deayton and the original cast of 1980s classic sketch show Radio Active.

Seann Walsh, Aandy Parsons and Russell Kane will be performing comedy at Henley Festival

A Varied Array of Visual Arts

Henley Festival’s ongoing support of independent artists and galleries will see works by some of the UK’s most exciting contemporary artists on display and for sale at the Festival. The Festival’s sculpture gardens will feature works including David Ogle’s illuminated forest of light; Dawn Conn’s whimsical sculptures inspired by fairy-tales, romance and simple pleasures; and Stephen Newby’s “Infinity Pools” of light.

Steve Newby’s “Beating Heart” installation

A Festival For Foodies

A festival for food lovers, Henley Festival caters for all tastes, offering a huge number of restaurants and pop-ups from street food to fine dining. Restaurants popping up at the festival will include The Spice Merchant, Crooked Billet, and The Dog & Badger alongside street food from Jimmy Garcia’s BBQ Club, Newquay Sushi, Snob Lobster And Champagne, and Awesome Crispy Squid. Henley will once again host the UK’s largest pop-up restaurant, with catering maestros The Dish serving 800 covers a night at the atmospheric Riverside Restaurant.

Food at Henley Festival

A Festival of Fizz

Black-tie clad revellers at this year’s Henley Festival will be the first festival-goers in the UK to sample Moët & Chandon’s champagne vending machines, enjoying mini bottles of the luxury champagne at the touch of a button. Moët & Chandon will also be creating four champagne fountains, each created from 90 champagne flutes, and located at the Festival’s gourmet Riverside and Terrace pop-up restaurants, as well as on the Moët & Chandon champagne lawn. Meanwhile, a pair of Moët Bicycles will offer Moët Minis.

Moët & Chandon’s champagne vending machine will make its debut at Henley Festival

The Return of Ronnie Scott’s

Returning in 2017, legendary jazz club Ronnie Scott’s will be making the Festival its home for the full five days. Festival goers will be treated to the full Ronnie Scott’s experience seated at cabaret-style tables, where they will be able to watch performances by the stellar Ronnie Scott’s All Stars while waiters discretely serve cocktails and show-stopping food from Caper & Berry.

Musicians performing at Henley Festival

Ticketing Information

Tickets start from £45 and are available from www.henley-festival.co.uk.

Prestigious Medals Announced At The RHS Chelsea Flower Show By The Luxury Channel

The M&G Garden at The RHS CHelsea Flower Show 2017, designed by James Basson
(image courtesy of The RHS)

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) awarded 73 Gold Medals at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show. A total of 117 medals were awarded to the gardens and floral exhibitors in the Great Pavilion, which also included 30 Silver-Gilt Medals, 13 Silver Medals and one Bronze Medal.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show’s sponsors, The M&G Garden, was awarded their 6th Gold Medal and scooped Best Show Garden. Showcasing ecological sustainability based on the unique environment of Malta, the garden designed by James Basson also received the coveted Best Construction Award, making it the second year running for contractors Crocus.

James Basson, The M&G Garden designer, revealed he was “absolutely thrilled” to have won Best In Show for the first time at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. “It is an incredible feeling and a testimony to the hard work of the whole team,” he added. Show Garden Judging Panel Chair, James Alexander-Sinclair, revealed why the garden won, commenting that it is “faultless and outstanding, in terms of both construction and attention to detail.”

City Living Garden, designed by Kate Gould at The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017
(image courtesy of The RHS)

Kate Gould’s City Living Garden, representing an urban apartment block and how to innovatively use space in an urban context, won Best Fresh Garden. Meanwhile, Best Artisan Garden was awarded to Walker’s Wharf Garden by designer Graham Bodle.

A total of 61 Gold Medals were awarded to nurseries and growers at the heart of the show in the Great Pavilion, without any Bronze medals in sight. The Diamond Jubilee Award for the best display was presented to Penberth Plants for their “A Reflection of Penberth – A Cornish Garden” and New Design Award was given to Raymond Evison Clematis. The South African National Biodiversity Institute – Kirstenbosch stand received the popular President’s Award, while David Austin Roses Ltd, Cayeux Iris and Waterside Nursery were among the Gold Medal winners.

For more information, go to www.rhs.org.uk.

Kick Off The Summer Season In Style At Polo In The Park By The Luxury Channel

Kick-off the London summer social season in style at Chestertons Polo In The Park! Combining world-class sport, a host of London’s most exciting restaurants and Europe’s longest outdoor bar, Polo In The Park is the perfect setting for polo fans and social enthusiasts alike to celebrate the summer season in style. This year’s layout of bars, shopping and delicious food will ensure a day of non-stop action both on and off the field.

Played under simplified rules that create a faster and more spectator-friendly game, the event is the ideal introduction to polo for those new to the sport. This year, the event is particularly special as ICM Capital Team England take on Champions Polo League Team India, who will be returning to Hurlingham Park for the first time in over 70 years. Playing for Champions Polo League India will be HH Maharaja Padmanabh Singh, part of the Royal family of Jaipur, whose great grandfather was the part of the team to have last played England at Hurlingham Park.

Taking on HH Maharaja Padmanabh Singh will be Hazel Jackson, the first female to play for the England team in 10 years, and the first ever female to play at Chestertons Polo in the Park. We can’t wait!

For more information, go to www.polointheparklondon.com.

London Craft Week By The Luxury Channel

Running until 7th May 2017, the third edition of London Craft Week took up residence in the capital. This annual event showcased the very best international and British creativity and craftsmanship through a “beyond luxury” journey-of-discovery. The curated programme brought together over 230 events from all corners of the globe fusing food, fashion, design, art, culture and luxury. From The Shard to The House of Lords, hidden studios to Mayfair stores and bustling workshops to Michelin starred restaurants, London Craft Week spread across the capital’s iconic buildings, influential institutions and off-the-beaten track side streets, many of which are not normally open to the public.

International content included wood carvers from Japan, artisans from Korea, wood block printers from China, ceramists from Taiwan, umbrella makers from France, porcelain painters from Germany, glass artists from Sweden, furniture makers from Denmark and a guitar maker from Spain. The 2017 programme covered a total of 55 disciplines from boat-building to silvermithing, watchmaking to glass-blowing, book-binding to steam bending and even the Japanese art of Kintsugi. This year, London Craft Week also had a special focus on Scotland’s creativity, with Scottish tailoring, weaving and woodworking demonstrations. The aim was to experience beautiful things not just as static objects but in the full context in which they were created, highlighting how imagination and talent combine with the very best materials and techniques.

From Korea, The Arumjigi Culture Keepers Foundation is a non-profit private organisation that aims to identify and enhance the essence and beauty of traditional Korean culture. Showing in the UK for the first time, they hosted an exhibition featuring Korean vessels and table settings based on their research into craftsmanship, which is instrumental in imparting the Korean virtue of a healthy and beautiful culture of cuisine in daily life. Meanwhile, the Korean Craft and Design Foundation presented “Between Serenity And Dynamism,” an exhibition which plays an important role in developing a global awareness and understanding of Korea’s rich craft and design heritage.

Some of the world’s most creative brands opened the doors to their workshops, studios and factories, giving visitors behind-the-scenes insights to the techniques and skills that go into their products. Aston Martin demonstrated how they create clay scale models of cars, Vacheron Constantin’s in-house master watchmaker and engraver demonstrated their skills, and an evening at Vivienne Westwood’s couture boutique enabled visitors to explore the artistry behind her famous corset. Dunhill opened the doors of its leather workshop in Walthamstow, where the house’s bespoke designs are hand cut, sewn and finished. Frette celebrated the Italian craftsmanship that goes into the making of its fine linen and also showcased the unique artistry of Lisa Rampilli, in situ at the store producing a mesmerising piece of work dedicated to Frette’s Tropic of Cancer Collection. Lisa’s colours and brush strokes worked their way on her larger-than-life canvas to reveal the secrets and sensory details that go into producing the world’s finest linens and bespoke products.

British luxury travel and stationery brand, Smythson, transported guests back in time to Frank Smythson’s workshop. The brand celebrated its 130th year with an event in association with Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, showcasing how traditional making is still relevant today. Meanwhile, John Smedley’s 230-year-old factory in Derbyshire was brought to London with hand-cutting and finishing demonstrations in store.

A series of demonstrations ran every day in the Pavilion at St James’s Market, bringing outstanding making into the heart of the West End and providing opportunities to meet the people who make and create. Demonstrations included Ettinger creating leather wallets, the Boat Building Academy steam bending wood to create a kayak, and works by original wicker basket creators. Events were also taking place at some of the capital’s most iconic buildings, including a behind-the-scenes tour at St Paul’s Cathedral, giving the chance to see hidden rooms and original models by Sir Christopher Wren. At Southwark Cathedral, there was the chance to try dry-stone walling as well as the rare opportunity to see the Bishop’s vestments up close. Hosted by the House of Lords, the Heritage Crafts Association and the Radcliffe Trust discussed the UK’s most endangered crafts at the launch of the Red List project.

According to London Craft Week’s chairman, Guy Salter OBE, the programme of events is “an example of what, at its best, the world’s creative capital does so well – mixing glamour with cutting edge; heritage and contemporary, and the commercial with the cultural. It is rash to make any predictions in the current climate but I’m going to attempt two for 2017. First, that people will continue to search for ‘beyond luxury’ in terms of exceptional creativity and provenance, rather than fame or expense. Second, that London will continue to demonstrate its place as a unique global creative crossroads, open to new ideas and welcoming to all.”

For more information, go to www.londoncraftweek.com.

The Year of The Rooster – China Luxury Market Outlook By The Luxury Conversation

An exploration of architectural development on the outskirts of China’s cities – Shortlist, Professional Architecture, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards, by Paul Storms, Australia (courtesy of Getty Images)

There was a good deal of debate in 2016 about the slow-down of the Chinese economy and tough times for luxury brands. After years of strong growth, we are now talking about China’s “new normal” – i.e. a more moderate rate of growth and sales. But it’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, UBS Global Research predicts a recovery of Chinese luxury consumption in 2017 and 4% growth. So just what are the biggest opportunities for 2017 in China? The Luxury Conversation put that question to a panel of experts….

Zan Wu, Founder of ZANADU

ZANADU is China’s No.1 luxury online travel agency, curating the world’s most amazing travel experiences and luxury boutique hotels and villas for the discerning Chinese traveler. ZANADU is also the leading creator and distributor of premium travel and lifestyle information.

“Customers’ demands are increasing and they are willing to pay a premium for better and more unique experiences. In addition, the media environment will become more vertical. Therefore, the biggest opportunity (and also challenge) for luxury brands is to deepen their understanding of customer interests, lifestyle and aspirations to stay relevant. This applies in every aspect from product development, marketing, communications, channel strategy, partnerships and content. All these will become more personalised and segmented.”

Rupert Hoogewerf, Chairman and Chief Researcher of Hurun Report

Founded in 1999, Hurun Report has grown into a world leading researcher of, and media for, the Chinese high net worth individual.

Less is more – this coming year, I expect there to be an upsurge in the confidence of the Chinese luxury consumer, which could translate into bigger sales. Not only are the middle and upper classes getting richer, there are also more of them than ever before. There is now a new normal in the state of luxury in China following the anti-corruption campaigns, which hit luxury brands hard. Those brands have responded to this over the last three years by launching more entry and affordable products with less ostentatious branding.”

Allen Liu, Chief Editor of World Wrist Watch Magazine and Luxury Watcher

Established in 1999, World Wrist Watch Magazine is the most successful professional watch title in Asia. Luxury Watcher covers all aspects of affluent lifestyle across Greater China.

“We will see a continued increase in domestic luxury consumption. This will be driven by two factors. First, luxury goods are becoming less expensive in China compared with overseas because of the RMB rate and price-equalization trends from many brands. Second, the Chinese government has been very strict in enforcing customs checks at major airports, hence deterring consumers from bringing in as many luxury products as before. Lastly, I think luxury brands will continue to focus more on CRM initiatives. Many brands have established VIP customer databases and will be looking to leverage existing customers by offering them unique experiences.”

Lilly Liu Minkove, Founder of ArtLogica Strategy Group and Global Luxury Advisor

ArtLogica is a business, brand and marketing strategy firm helping clients in consumer-focused verticals.

Mobile will become an even stronger influence on Chinese luxury consumers. They are discovering, conversing and engaging with brands and online content at an unprecedented level. Mobile will increasingly become not only the source of information, but also the mode of transaction, even for luxury products. Brands need to first understand the customer journey and channels of information – how the consumer is using social media to gather information about new brands and new trends – before ultimately making a purchase.”

Fang Yang, Founder and Designer of by Fang

by Fang is a Shanghai-based, ready-to-wear luxury fashion brand inspired by the story of its founder, Fang Yang.

“2017 is a pinnacle year in the evolution of the luxury industry in China – a gradual shift from imported foreign-made luxury goods to the appreciation of homegrown, Made In China luxury products. The Chinese luxury consumer is finally shaping his and her own identity.”

Chloé Reuter, Founder and CEO of Reuter Communications

Reuter Communications is an independent communications agency based in Shanghai and Hong Kong, representing some of the world’s most celebrated premium and luxury brands.

“The year ahead is set to be one of adaptation and change. With the evolution of e-commerce and mobile, shifts in path-to-purchase and consumer behaviour in China are at full speed. Competition will be intense, so success for luxury brands will be determined by who can adapt their approach and respond best. Story-telling will be big in terms of driving brand awareness, affinity and engagement, as consumers increasingly value authenticity and genuine brand-stories that they can connect with. This will also be the year when emerging Chinese fashion brands compete with the established names.”

Conclusion

Though the Rooster is possibly the most reliable animal in the zodiac, for luxury brands looking at China, the only thing they can be certain of is change. To stay ahead of the game, brands that are nimble and can adapt quickly will be successful in this market. A young luxury consumer with low brand loyalty and attention span is hard to convert. So here are our top tips on how to stay relevant:

Digital – understand the digital landscape and how it impacts business, both from a communications standpoint as well as a path-to-purchase journey. Know that mobile is key when it comes to everyday transactions in key cities. Who actually carries RMB these days?

Experiences – a lot has been said about experiences, and we will say it again. What are you providing beyond the purchase to add value and connect on a deeper level with your consumer?

China Brands – this is the time for Chinese fashion brands. Homegrown creativity is not only rising in popularity in China, but is being acknowledged around the rest of the world.

Content, Content, Content – 8 seconds is the optimal attention span of a young Chinese luxury consumer. How powerful is your message to connect in that time?

Travel – 120 million people will travel overseas this year – how are you engaging with them? Did you know that 80% of luxury purchases made overseas are already decided before they leave China?

What Is The Luxury Conversation?

The Luxury Conversation is a platform for global luxury professionals to connect, share and discuss Asia’s luxury industry and its rapidly evolving affluent consumer. The Luxury Conversation curates and debates topical issues that are impacting the industry and weighing on the minds of our community. From consumer attitudes and trends, to the factors influencing and shaping the market, The Luxury Conversation debates the questions of the moment – from China’s luxury traveller and the rise of m-commerce, to Chinese economic growth and the new technologies disrupting the marketplace.

www.reutercomms.com/welcome-to-the-luxury-conversation

Prince William Honours Africa’s Heroes At The Tusk Awards By The Luxury Channel

HRH Prince William and Kate Silverton at the Tusk Conservation Awards in London

At a ceremony attended by many of Tusk Trust’s high profile supporters – including Ronnie Wood, Deborah Meaden, Katherine Jenkins and Bear Grylls – the great and the good came together for an awards ceremony headed by HRH The Duke of Cambridge and the charity’s CEO Charlie Mayhew.

The five finalists at the Tusk Conservation Awards in London

The Duke honoured the extraordinary lives of five men and women dedicated to the survival of Africa’s endangered wildlife at the fourth annual Tusk Awards with Sir David Attenborough, announcing the winners of three of the conservation world’s most prestigious accolades. With the addition of a surprise award, the Prince turned the tables on Sir David, offering the legendary natural history broadcaster heartfelt thanks for his “immense contribution” to conservation and for inspiring generations around the globe to care for the natural world.

HRH Prince William, Sir David Attenborough and Kate Silverton at the Tusk Conservation Awards in London

The Duke revealed he had been “humbled by the sheer dedication and commitment” of the nominees, noting that “the number and quality of the nominations this year once again shines a spotlight on some remarkable people working across Africa as unsung heroes in their field. Their work is dangerous but vitally important – and we are immensely grateful for it.” He added that “for conservation to succeed, [the Awards’ nominees] need help. They must be supported by a highly effective and well-funded chain of command and a system of integrated management that ultimately binds the work of the rangers on the ground with their senior wildlife managers, the vets, the scientific researchers, community development officers and law enforcement agencies. And it does not stop there – we must have the support of the judiciary and of Government if we are to succeed. If that sounds complicated, let’s remember that the illegal wildlife trade is the fourth-biggest illegal trade in the world after drugs, weapons and human slavery.”

Manuel Sacaia and Sir David Attenborough at the Tusk Conservation Awards in London

In a ceremony hosted by presenter Kate Silverton, Sir David declared Angola’s Manuel Sacaia the winner of the Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award, in recognition of his fearless dedication to protecting the critically endangered giant sable antelope from extinction.

Cathy Dreyer and Sir David Attenborough at the Tusk Conservation Awards in London

The Tusk Award For Conservation In Africa, sponsored by Land Rover, also presented by Sir David, went to Cathy Dreyer from South Africa, for her remarkable success in protecting black rhino, work vital to the survival of this iconic species.

John Kahekwa and HRH Prince William at the
Tusk Conservation Awards in London

The Prince William Award For Conservation In Africa, sponsored by Investec Asset Management, was presented by The Duke to John Kahekwa from the Democratic Republic of Congo for a life lived in pursuit of a future for the Grauer’s gorilla within the Congo’s war zones.

Charlie Mayhew at the Tusk Conservation Awards
in London

Tusk’s CEO Charlie Mayhew said that “whilst the illegal wildlife trade continues to flourish, we must not lose sight of the remarkable achievements of these five extraordinary men and women, whose lives are threatened daily on Africa’s conservation front line.” Investec Asset Management’s CEO Hendrik du Toit added that “over the last 40 years, the world’s wildlife population has decreased by more than half and some of the planet’s most iconic species, many of which count the continent of Africa as their home, are on the brink of extinction. Now is the time to act if we are to reverse this. The Awards are not only a celebration of the achievements of the nominees; they are also about inspiring all of us for the ongoing battle to preserve our natural heritage for the generations to come.”

Land Rover sponsored the Tusk Award For Conservation In Africa

For more information about Tusk Trust, go to www.tusk.org. Watch highlights from the Awards here.

Champions Tennis Marks 20th Anniversary At The Royal Albert Hall By The Luxury Channel

John McEnroe of the USA reaches for a forehand during his Legends Exhibition singles match against Henri Leconte of France during day five of the Statoil Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall on December 6th 2015 (image courtesy of Jordan Mansfield, Getty Images)

John McEnroe of the USA reaches for a forehand during his Legends Exhibition singles match against Henri Leconte of France during day five of the Statoil Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall on December 6th 2015 (image courtesy of Jordan Mansfield, Getty Images)

Former British Number 1 Greg Rusedski, former Doubles Grand Slam Champion Xavier Malisse, and former World No.4 Guy Forget will be competing at this year’s Champions Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The tournament, which takes place between 30th November and 4th December 2016, celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year. The players join former World No.1 and seven-time Grand Slam champion John McEnroe, former World No.1 and two-time US Open champion Pat Rafter, former British No.1 Tim Henman, former World No.1 and Roland Garros Champion Juan Carlos Ferrero, as well as popular crowd-pleaser and “court jester” Mansour Bahrami.

Mansour Bahrami

Mansour Bahrami

Retiring from tennis in 2007, former British Number 1 Greg Rusedski reached a career high ATP ranking of World No.4. Within this time, he reached the singles final of the US Open in 1997, and that year won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award. In addition to these achievements, Rusedski is possibly best known for, at one time, holding the record for the fastest serve ever recorded, at 149mph. Rusedski will be renewing his rivalry with two-time US Open champion, Pat Rafter, who he lost to in the 1997 US Open final. Rusedski revealed he is “very excited to compete at this year’s Champions Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall. It is always great to play to a home crowd in such a special and iconic venue. I’m also really looking forward to playing alongside some of the sporting legends who I have had the privilege to play against in my career, including Tim Henman and Pat Rafter.”

Greg Rusedski of Great Britain serves during his group match against Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia on day one of the Statoil Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall on December 4th 2013  (image courtesy of Clive Rose, Getty Images)

Greg Rusedski of Great Britain serves during his group match against Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia on day one of the Statoil Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall on December 4th 2013
(image courtesy of Clive Rose, Getty Images)

Xavier Malisse is one of only two Belgian players to have ranked inside the top 20 of the ATP Tour, and was the winner of the men’s doubles final at Roland Garros in 2004, playing alongside compatriot Oliver Rochus. The pair defeated Fabrice Santoro, who will also be playing in this year’s Champions Tennis. Malisse has historically performed well on British soil, reaching the semi-finals of the 2002 Wimbledon Championships (he also beat Greg Rusedski in the fourth round of that year’s Wimbledon).

During his career, Guy Forget was a serve and volley specialist, and reached a career-high ranking of World No.4. He helped France win Davis Cup titles in 1991 and 1996 and he won 11 singles titles from 19 finals. Forget reached the doubles final of Roland Garros in 1987 and 1996, partnering with Yannick Noah and Jakob Hlaseck respectively.

Tim Henman outside The Royal Albert Hall in London

Tim Henman outside The Royal Albert Hall in London

Owned and managed by IMG, Champions Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall is the season-ending finale to the ATP Champions Tour. Guests are treated to seeing the greatest players on the grandest stage, with former Grand Slam Champions, World No.1s and national icons all taking to the court. In its 20 year history, Champions Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall has featured many of tennis’ greatest stars, including Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Tim Henman, Goran Ivanisevic, Bjorn Borg, Boris Becker and Andy Roddick and special appearances from Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Sir Elton John, Billie Jean King, and HRH The Duke of Cambridge.

The final few tickets are available via www.championstennis.co.uk/tickets or by calling the box office on +44 (0)20 7070 4404. Prices start from £18.50 plus booking fees. Hospitality packages are also available from £299 per person (excluding VAT); more information can be found at www.championstennis.co.uk/hospitality.

The Spanish Riding School’s 450th Anniversary World Tour By The Luxury Channel

Lipizzaner Horse

The Spanish Riding School of Vienna, the world’s oldest and most prestigious equestrian academy, performed at London’s Wembley Arena as part of their 450th Anniversary World Tour, with their famous Lipizzaner horses adorned with specially designed crimson and gold-edged saddle blankets embellished with 3,000 shining Swarovski crystals each.

The world-famous performances by the Lipizzans – the Ballet of the White Stallions – are the result of years of training for both rider and horse. Lipizzan horses are lively and intelligent, and as Europe’s oldest horse breed, their physique and grace are ideally suited to the High School of Classical Horsemanship.

Image courtesy of Jürgen Hammerschmid

Image courtesy of Jürgen Hammerschmid

With its proud Austrian roots, Swarovski proudly supports the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, which celebrates Europe’s oldest cultural horse breed and the art of classical horsemanship, and is on UNESCO’s world heritage list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity. Swarovski has been closely linked to the Spanish Riding School of Vienna for many years, promoting its Fête Imperiale, the annual Summer Ball, and helping carry the tradition of the Lipizzaner horses into the future. Last year, at the anniversary gala dinner, Swarovski presented the Spanish Riding School with ten handcrafted Lipizzaner figurines, each adorned with 12,527 crystals using Swarovski’s hand-set Pointillage technique. Swarovski and the Spanish Riding School’s shared dedication to heritage, precision and craftsmanship make them natural collaborators for these historic anniversary celebrations.

Image courtesy of Jürgen-Hammerschmid

Image courtesy of Jürgen-Hammerschmid

For more information about the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, go to www.srs.at. For more information about Swarovski, go to www.swarovskigroup.com.

Innovation And New Trends In The Luxury World By Christiane Muller

Panelists at Glion Innovate Luxury Conference

Panelists at Glion Innovate Luxury Conference

In September, Glion Institute of Higher Education hosted an inaugural Innovate Luxury Conference in Switzerland, and The Luxury Channel’s Christiane Muller was delighted to hear first-hand from top level speakers such as Christian Blanckaert (Former Directeur Général of Hermès International), Ronald Homsy (Co-Founder and CEO of Utopian Hotel Collection) and Bernadette Koltai (VP of Luxury Hotels Group), about the latest innovations in the hospitality and luxury sectors.

The keyword of the conference was undoubtedly innovation. There was a clear message that despite digitalisation trends, consumers still appreciate a human element within the shopping process. At the highest levels of luxury, a need for personal interaction prevails to provide the personalised, compassionate service that inspires consumer confidence.

According to wealthy consumers, luxury is defined by three elements – 73% believe superior quality is an important attribute, while 54% consider a brand’s design the most important quality. Meanwhile, 47% says it’s all about customer service. Increasingly, luxury consumers want a 360 degree experience – they are buying a whole experience; not just an item. With the rapid growth and volatility of global markets, luxury businesses need to keep reinventing themselves and create the types of products and services that continue to inspire new breeds of consumers, while staying true to their origins and heritage. Luxury consumers themselves are open to engagement – they have their mobile device with them all the time, and are both social and socially engaged. Therefore, brands need to move away from the traditional “monarchy mindset” in order to continue to innovate.

A woman walks past a Louis Vuitton shop in Brussels, Belgium (image courtesy of Reuters)

A woman walks past a Louis Vuitton shop in Brussels, Belgium (image courtesy of Reuters)

Over the last century, the luxury and hospitality industries have matured together. They have created the standards of elegance and refinement that continue to reign in the luxury industry. Today, the hospitality and luxury industries are merging with brands like Givenchy, Armani, Bulgari, Louis Vuitton and Roberto Cavalli venturing into hotels, spas and restaurants. Likewise, leading companies in the personal luxury goods segment, such as Rolex, Richemont and Hermes are seeking out hospitality business graduates to fill key positions.

The global luxury market is therefore showing steady growth and increasing diversity, but in the future, luxury brands will be challenged as travel, technology, fashion and generational trends continue to influence this highly specialized industry. First, brands must understand the concept of the “borderless consumer” (as most luxury spending is now done by travellers and tourists). Secondly, the industry needs to embrace new technology, digitalisation trends and multi-channel shopping. Finally, brands need to create exceptional experiences and consistency across all touch points – online, in-store and beyond.

A good example of this was given by Christian Blanckaert, the former Directeur Général of Hermès International, who believed in “the power of the window dresser” to excite customers and bring new innovation and technology into the window. “With online video creating shoppable store windows with robot mannequins that mimic shopper movements, there are endless possibilities,” he said.

Displays in Hermes' windows

Displays in Hermes’ windows

With traditional models challenged by a shift in consumer behaviour, we learnt that brands need to build new solutions to engage their core consumer base and yet continue to attract new clients. Of course, this is all whilst standing out from the competition. At the heart of what the luxury hospitality sector offers to customers is an experience – and that, ultimately, is what the customer will want to buy into. As the luxury hospitality (and shopping) experience continues to be redefined, brands will need to know how to meet expectations, and understand how to embrace the trends adopted by their target demographics. They likewise cannot ignore the digital impact – as purchasing behaviours change, so too will the sales channels used by consumers, and brands need to adapt to meet this subsequent demand.

Technology and luxury have not always traditionally been the best of bedfellows, but technology is having a transformational effect in every industry, and every industry is looking to technology for innovation and growth. If luxury brands can introduce technology into their products and services, they can start to innovate and inspire going forwards into the digital age.

The Luxury Channel Meets Jean-Eric Vergne By Natalie Sauer

Jean-Eric Vergne, the former Formula One driver now turned darling of the Formula E Virgin DS team and Mumm Champagne’s Formula E Ambassador, talks to the Luxury Channel about the future of battery powered cars, and what he misses most about Formula One….

Bruno Senna, Nicolas Prost, Jean-Eric Vergne

Hope you’ve recovered from your crash earlier? [Our interview takes place a couple of hours after Jean-Eric Vergne crashed during qualifying]

I did, but the car has yet to do so!

Is Formula One a sport in decline by comparison to Formula E?

Looking at the profits of Formula One, I think it’d be a bit of a mistake to say it’s a sport in decline. There are ups and downs with Formula One, because the world is changing – in particular when it comes to digital imagery. I think that Formula E is in the lead in the area of social media, for example. I strongly believe that it is becoming a recognised championship for car manufacturers and I reckon it will continue to expand, as producers show their customers, and show ordinary people, that the technologies they are developing through Formula E are technologies which will reach everyday cars, which was the case with Formula One a few years ago and is no longer the case today.

Do you think Formula E has helped to make the electric car any sexier in the eyes of consumers?

Of course. We do brilliant itineraries in brilliant locations. These are cars within everyone’s reach. Of course it’s sexy, and rather cool.

Jean-Eric Vergne and Bruno Senna Mumm Grand Cordon Champagne Spray

Do you ever miss anything from Formula One when at the wheel of a Formula E car?

I miss everything. The roar of the engine. The braking. The grip. The speed. Everything’s different.

So why are you in this sport?

Because I’ve come out of F1. To say I came out of Formula One to come over here would be a lie but to me, this was the best championship available aside from Formula One and as I’m still quite young, I chose to invest myself into a championship that had a future.

Don’t you think Formula E will develop quickly? I spoke to an engineer earlier on who told me that Formula E might be able to equal Formula One’s speed within the next three years….

I’m not an engineer, so I don’t know. I hope this is indeed possible. If one looks at the technology two years ago, it wasn’t going anywhere. Nowadays, we are driving at 130mph on electric battery. The curb of technological advances is a gradual one.

So you don’t think Formula E could compete with Formula One, even if the speeds were equal?

There is only one reason why Formula E cannot compete with Formula One, and that is history. Formula E might well be writing history, but the history of Formula One is Ferrari, a whole era which no-one will ever forget. In that regard, the history of F1 will remain that of F1. But Formula E is a competitive championship and that’s the main thing.

Mumm Grand Cordon

Finally, could you tell us how you would personally go about promoting Formula E?

Night races. With champagne that glows in the dark!

Formula E is sponsored by Mumm Champagne – for more information, visit www.mumm.com. Mumm Grand Cordon is available at The Ritz London, and from Soho Wine for £39.00. To read our article about the Formula E World Championship, click here.

The Champagne Lifestyle of Formula E By Natalie Sauer

Mumm Grand Cordon

I went to a motor race on Saturday 2nd July, and it may not be the one you’re thinking of. The weather was impeccable, with the sky a perky blue and the pits occasionally glistening from a passing summer shower. There were all of the usual models, including car aficionado Jodie Kidd, and if one drew closely to the tracks, one could, surely enough, get high on the smell of burnt tyres and hot brakes like any self-respecting Formula One fan.

The circuit, however, is curiously silent. Conspicuously absent, too, is the scent of fuel. I am not at the Austrian Grand Prix, as you may have guessed by now, about to witness Lewis Hamilton take a lead poll in a dramatic, rain-hit qualifier, but at the Formula E World Championship in otherwise good-natured Battersea Park, London.

Formula E

Sanctioned just three years ago by FIA to promote clean energy, Formula E is not the kids’ game you imagine it to be. The grid here boasts some serious pedigree, with many drivers having just come back from Le Mans 24 hours’ race. I’m talking Luca di Grassi, Sebastien Buemi and Jean-Eric Vergne, but also a few members of outright motor dynasties – Bruno Senna, nephew of three-time Formula One world champion, Ayrton Senna; Nelson Piquet Junior, son of also three-time Formula One world champion Nelson Piquet and Nico Prost, son of four-time Formula One world champion Alain Prost.

The technology is still fledging, of course. At 140mph, the maximum speed of a Formula E hardly beats that of your average road car, by contrast to a record 230mph in Formula One, and drivers still have to submit to the tedious exercise of switching single-seaters mid-race due to limited battery capacity. But these are early days for the three-year old e-car. On the morning tour, I am told by an engineer from the Virgin DS garage that cars are evolving at a dizzying pace, as confidence in the safety of the vehicle picks up and competitors are given new liberties to design their components with each passing season. The circuit is a giant lab for motor manufacturers, where their decisions not only make or break a car’s performance, but could crucially end up pioneering the everyday e-car of tomorrow.

Nicolas Prost

Little wonder, then, that entrepreneurs and celebrities are flocking to back the technology. Business magnate Richard Branson, who could be seen sauntering along the pit lane, is one of the series’ foremost fans and has poured millions into his DS Virgin Team. Such was his enthusiasm, in fact, that he went on to predict last year that Formula E would be bigger than Formula 1 by 2020 – drawing howls of indignation from 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button. Actor and environmental poster boy Leonardo DiCaprio is also the co-founder of Monaco-based team Venturi. I wouldn’t have minded toasting to the future of clean energy in his company in the E-motion VIP building, but sadly couldn’t spot any wolves of Wall Street in Battersea Park.

I console myself about Leo’s absence with a glass of Mumm champagne – one of Formula E’s most devoted corporate sponsors – and I am positively showered with the drink all day. The Grand Cordon is intensely Pinot Noir, complemented with the subtlety of Chardonnay and a dash of the fruity aromas of a Pinot Meunier. The Grand Cordon has a new bottle, too – an item inspiring almost as much intrigue around me as the forthcoming race. It is a fine, long-necked object, indented with a red ribbon which replicates the sash of the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest civil award. Naturally its designer is no less than Welshman Ross Lovegrove, known for his work for Sony and Apple, and who has exhibited in some of some the world’s greatest museums, including the MoMA and Guggenheim in New York.

Mumm Grand Cordon

A little before 4pm, the race was finally about to commence. We had been mustered on a stand overlooking the starting line, our backs turned to the Thames and, rather sureally, a 1984 Japanese Buddhist Pagoda. When at last the lights turn green, the cars flash by us with a singular, high-pitched noise – to me, a louder and more elaborate version of a child’s electric car, and to others, the whistle of a jet aircraft. The cause of the sound has long mystified traditional Formula One commentators, but we now know that it is the combination of a road noise, electric motor whine and of aerodynamics package. Richard Branson swears by the electric roar, claiming it allows spectators to enjoy a conversation and a drink while watching the race. Mumm Champagne’s Formula E Ambassador and former Formula One driver Jean-Eric Vergne, however, confesses to me that he can’t help feel a pang of nostalgia for the groan of a fuel-driven engine (read our full interview with Vergne here).

60 minutes, a few shattered wings and 33 laps later, Nicholas Prost comes out as the incontestable victor. The Frenchman from the Renault E-dam team has led from start to finish in the 2.92km circuit, while second-placed Bruno Senna trailed behind by 5.24 seconds. Jean-Eric Vergne, who collided with di Grassi over the second-half of the race, achieves third position. “For me it was a stroll in the park — the car today was just amazing!” Prost tells CNN. It is funny to see a new generation of Prost and Senna standing side by side on the podium of what is a new chapter for the motorsport. The three winners seem to enjoy the Mumm champagne as much as I did, and shower their fans generously in the late afternoon light, to the beat of a dramatic bass.

Jean-Eric Vergne and Bruno Senna Mumm Grand Cordon Champagne Spray

Final approval permitting, next year’s finale will take place in New York, while additional races are planned for Hong Kong, Marrakech and Montreal next season. And, in a telling reversal of roles, Formula E might literally pave the way for Formula One by inspiring world cities to host motor sporting events closer to home. Now, if that isn’t the future….

For more information about Mumm Champagne, go to www.mumm.com. Mumm Grand Cordon is available at The Ritz London, and from Soho Wine for £39.00.

Henley Festival – Fun, Food And Fizz By The Luxury Channel

Blake and Dame Shirley Bassey

Blake and Dame Shirley Bassey

The all-star line-up for this year’s Henley Festival has been announced! As one of the most decorated and recognisable names in British music, Sir Elton John and his band will open the Festival on Wednesday 6th July to a sold-out audience whilst one of Britain’s greatest-ever entertainers, Dame Shirley Bassey, will be teaming up with Brit-Award winning vocal group Blake on Saturday 9th. Multi award-winning singer Elvis Costello & The Imposters will keep the party going on Thursday night when they take to the famous Floating Stage, and Friday night will see the Festival return to its classical roots with legendary Welsh Opera singer Bryn Terfel performing with the Welsh National Opera Orchestra.

Will Young

Will Young

Finally, everyone’s favourite singer-songwriter Will Young will bring Henley Festival to a momentous close on the Sunday night. Will Young said: I’m really excited to be closing Henley Festival on the Sunday night. It’s such a beautiful setting on the banks of the River Thames – not to mention headlining alongside one of my favourite people, Sir Elton John!”

Sir Elton John

Sir Elton John

It has also been announced that two Michelin-starred chef Daniel Clifford will be resident chef at Henley Festival. Taking the reins of Europe’s largest field restaurant, Clifford has created a bespoke tasting menu exclusively for Henley, serving 950 covers a night at the atmospheric Riverside Restaurant. Winner of AA Chef’s Chef of the Year 2015, Clifford’s Midsummer House Restaurant in Cambridge has cemented his reputation as one of the most innovative chefs in Britain. He revealed that he is “incredibly excited to work at such an iconic event as Henley.” Here is just a taster of what The Riverside Restaurant at Henley Festival will use!

• 790lbs of cod will be needed to prep Wednesday’s dinner
• 150kg of cheese will be needed for the whole week
• 300 balls of mozzarella and 30 cases of heirloom tomatoes will be used for Friday’s starter
• Over 2000 pairs of gloves will be used to plate the food
• 600kg of propane gas will be used to cook and reheat on site for the week
• Tables in the kitchen: 42 6-foot tables plus 322 feet of table top
• Tables for dining: 100
• Chefs: 45
• Waiting staff: 140
• But only one Daniel Clifford orchestrating all of the above!

Daniel Clifford at Midsummer House Restaurant

Daniel Clifford at Midsummer House Restaurant

A stalwart of the festival, Chef Paul Clerehugh will be cooking up a feast throughout the week with his bespoke festival menu at The Crooked Billet pop-up restaurant, offering fantastic British food using locally sourced seasonal ingredients. Clerehugh’s restaurant of the same name in Henley has won multiple awards and he is the second pub chef ever to win the highly coveted Craft Guild of Chefs award.

Hoops In Motion

Hoops In Motion

For the first time in the Festival’s history, legendary London jazz club Ronnie Scott’s will make the festival its home for the full five days. Festival-goers will be treated to the full Ronnie Scott’s experience, seated at cabaret style tables where they will be able to watch performances by the stellar Ronnie Scott’s Allstars, while waiters will discretely serve a feast of superb steaks, Ronnie-style burgers and gorgeous fish pies. Close by and carefully tucked away, The Jazz Garden is the perfect place to have a tranquil drink whilst soaking up the sounds of jazz musicians. The much cherished Terrace Restaurant will return for 2016, poised on the most picturesque location of the festival, with river views and the fabulous Lanson Champagne Bar below, which serves a range of fine champagnes including Rose and White Label.

Sky Garden Platter

Sky Garden Platter

The buzzing Art Bar is another new addition for Henley Festival 2016, where revellers can enjoy a cocktail whilst immersing themselves in cutting edge art exhibitions and watching OSADIA, a street theatre company that perform free psychedelic hairdos for all who want them.

Aether And Hemera - On The Wings Of Freedom by Gloria Ronchi

Aether And Hemera – On The Wings Of Freedom by Gloria Ronchi

Another unmissable pop-up drinking establishment will be The Bedouin bar, a place to have a drink whilst listening to live music in a laid-back, bohemian setting. Pure Heaven, meanwhile, is an upbeat piano and cocktail bar which later transforms into Henley Festival’s resident nightclub. Gin and tonic lovers can head to The Fever Tree bar to sample a G&T made with their multi-award winning tonic, whereas The Van du Vin will be the place to go for a sparkling wine. Finally, no trip to Henley would be complete without a Pimms, and the Pimms Bar will be producing Henley’s quintessential drink all evening.

For more information about Henley Festival, go to www.henley-festival.co.uk.

The Seoul And Vogue of Sustainability By K magazine

Suzy Menkes

The star session at the recent Condé Nast International Luxury Conference held in Seoul, South Korea, was “Ripples of Responsibility.” It addressed the impact of wasteful sourcing and processes in the fashion industry and emphasised the need to “institute sustainability,” as K magazine reports….

Under the shadow of the South Korean capital’s geographical landmark, Mount Namsan, the Condé Nast International Future Luxury conference at the Samsung-run Shilla Hotel was in full swing. Between sessions, delegates from around the world networked at a Swarovski multi-media exhibition, in front of a giant stand displaying the organiser’s gamut of up-to-the-minute magazines (Vogue, GQ, Glamour, Self, Wired, Vanity Fair et al), and at a splendid lawn reception area.

Conde Nast

Though the conference boasted some of the biggest names from some of the world’s biggest brands, the only session described in the programme as “essential” was a round-table discussion entitled Ripples of Responsibility. Chaired by conference hostess Suzy Menkes, international editor of Vogue, and by Sophie Hackford, director at Wired Consulting, it featured two panellists: Swarovski heiress and board member Nadja Swarovski and Kering’s Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs.

“Sustainability is not an option,” Daveu said. “When you look at the state of the planet, you can see already the effects of climate change and loss of biodiversity, resource scarcity and population growth.”

Daveu – who, being an engineer by training, cut an unusual figure among delegates who predominantly boasted media and design backgrounds – explained that Kering pledged itself to a sustainability action programme four years ago. The firm created a tool, the Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L) account to “measure environmental footprint and to give monetary value” in the firm’s own operations and across its supply chain.

From MIL to mall

There are two principal elements in the EP&L: sourcing and processes. Discussing downstream supply, Daveu noted that Gucci has now started to use Fairmined gold for rings; Brioni will include sustainable wool in its autumn/winter 2016 collection; and Kering has developed programmes to source sustainable crocodile and python skins.

The second element in the sustainability offensive is processes. The firm has established a Materials Innovation Lab (MIL), “a hub where our brands’ design teams and people with technical backgrounds can identify new, sustainable fabrics and also work with classic traditional raw materials and suppliers to improve their own practices,” Daveu said. “We remove all traditional processes, step-by-step, that are not sustainable,” and she gave the example of certain tanning processes, which have now been made heavy metal-free.

Ripples of Responsibility

In her efforts to instil sustainable practices across the group’s various brands, Daveu is backed by significant muscle. “What is great is I don’t go to see companies alone,” she said; she is joined by Kering chairman and CEO François-Henri Pinault on “roadshows” to the brands. “We have a meeting with every designer and his or her team, and we talk about sustainability in a very operational manner,” she continued. “We ask them for their suggestions, to share with them why it’s key to implement sustainability. We also go and see the executive committee together to ensure that they know they have to implement sustainability.” She and Pinault “support the brands with their implementation,” offering tools and contact points with experts and NGOs.

Green power

Swarovski detailed her group’s environmental efforts which date back to 1895, when the firm tapped a green power source – hydroelectricity in the Austrian Tyrol. She also presented a short film on the company’s worldwide Water Schools, which teach students about the importance of water and water hygiene.

Following up on Swarovski’s comments, Daveu noted that it is “concrete and possible” for the textiles sector to reduce water use. “We have invested in a start-up called Worn Again to separate and extract polyester and cotton from old clothes and old fabrics,” she said. “When you separate polyester from cotton, it is good for biodiversity, for waste, for water and for energy.”

Kering is reducing water consumption by pushing for use of organic rather than traditional cotton, which makes “the footprint 80% less.” Likewise, Gucci’s heavy metal-free tanning process reduces water consumption by 30%. “It is not perfect, but it is operational and concrete,” she said.

Menkes praised Kering’s efforts to be “…the strongest luxury house that cares” but questioned how companies squared the issue of sustainability with their need to sell manufactured products.

Hackford riposted, “I am surprised that we are having this conversation in 2016: we need to future-proof our businesses; and from a business perspective, it is astonishing that most companies have not been able to integrate these issues.” Risk management is a significant push factor in adopting sustainable practices. The increasing use and ongoing commercialisation of spy-in-the-sky satellites equipped with high-definition cameras means companies are increasingly going to come under scrutiny by authorities, NGOs and even competitors, Hackford said; so it is essential to institute sustainability.

“For me the future of luxury without sustainability does not exist,” Daveu summed up. “We have to take care of our raw materials.”

Swarovski

A Korea in fashion

While the sustainability session was arguably the highlight for incoming delegates, locals were fascinated to see a presentation by Samsung heiress Lee Seo-hyun, president and CEO of Samsung C&T. The Lee dynasty is famously reclusive, and it is believed to be the first time a member of the family’s third generation had addressed a conference. A graduate of Parsons The New School, with a background in fashion, Lee discussed Samsung’s programmes to incubate and fund young Korean designers, while frankly admitting the difficulties she has faced in efforts to establish a home-grown luxury brand.

Several sessions probed the Asian market, with particular emphasis on Chinese as consumers, and on Korea as a hub for popular culture exports (click here). Assuming Chinese authorities do not institute a customs-inspection crackdown in the future, the wave of globe-trotting Chinese luxury shoppers will continue to flow. Aimee Kim, lead partner for retail at McKinsey & Co, noted that only 6% of Chinese currently hold passports. Asians, and particularly Chinese, are leading the “travelling shopper” trend and 60% of luxury spend in cities like Paris is from tourists. Duty free shops are emerging as a “sixth continent” with a 30% annual growth rate.

South Korea – which along with Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Japan make up the five top destinations for Chinese tourists – is catering for this demand by opening giant, inner-city duty free shops which sell luxury brands in what is almost a marketplace atmosphere. Noting that the trend is driven by mid-end rather than high-end tourists, Menkes raised a plaintive question: “If it is for everyone, is it luxury?”

CNI Luxury Conference

Fast moving

Discussing Korea’s legendary dynamism, Bae Sang-min, professor at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology, explained that Korean manufacturers and designers used to be “fast followers” but are now becoming “fast movers,” given both their increasing sophistication and their need to stay ahead of up-and-coming Chinese competitors.

Proof, if needed, was provided by the venue of the après-conference festivities: Seoul’s latest architectural icon, the Zaha Hadid-designed Dongdaemun Design Plaza, a spaceship-like behemoth of a complex squatting in western Seoul’s sprawling fashion district.

Reporting from Korea by Andrew Salmon. For further information about Kering, go to www.kering.com.. For further information about the Condé Nast International Future Luxury Conference, go to www.cniluxury.com.

Discover The Nice Carnival 2016! By Bruce International Properties

Image courtesy of Bruce International Properties

Image courtesy of Bruce International Properties

Even in February, the South of France enjoys the Mediterranean sunshine, a fact capitalised upon by the Nice Carnival. If you’re lucky enough to be jetting off to the South of France, make a point of stopping by the Nice Carnival. Taking place from 13th to 28th February 2016, the Nice Carnival has been the primary winter event of the French Riviera since its humble origins around 800 years ago, believed to be in 1294. Every day and night, the streets are overrun with harmonious music and colourful parades, making for a truly magical atmosphere.

Le Carnival Parade

During the carnival, Nice is buzzing with parades, processions and open air musical performances. The 18 floats featured are fabulously decorated and pass through the town, ending in the Place Massena for a spectacular finale. 2016’s carnival theme is the King of Media, so the floats and 30 traditional papier mache figurines have all been designed around this. Over 1000 entertainers from across the globe will be contributing to this magnificent event, making the Nice Carnival one of the biggest carnivals in the world! Those wandering away from the main carnival path are also greeted by international street performers and music groups.

Flower Parades

The Promenade des Anglais hosts the carnival’s unique flower battles. Flower battles involve 16 floats decorated with beautiful floral arrangements and wacky characters throwing floral artillery into the crowds. The parade flows along the seafront and finishes on the Quai des États-Unis. Throughout this particular event, around 10,000 flowers are distributed. This fabulous and fascinating event promotes the Riviera’s famed floral exports, with around 80% of the blooms sourced from the Cote D’Azur, including carnations, roses, daises, gerberas, mimosas and gladioli.

Parade of Lights

The Place Massena, a venue synonymous with the Carnival, is the home of the Parade of Lights. The Alber 1er Gardens is the starting point for the carnival parade and the square is home to the visual entertainment broadcast, where visitors can watch the carnival on giant screens. After sunset, the Carnival’s figurines and floats are illuminated for all to see. This fairy-tale event is guaranteed to put smiles on the faces of your loved ones so if you are in the area, make sure that you do not miss out!

About Bruce International Properties

A French Riviera property specialist based in Roquefort-les-Pins, Bruce International Properties offer a variety of services including property viewings, purchase assistance and even project and event management. For more information, please click here.

One Last Look At The Venice Carnival By The World Weekly

Bridge of Sighs, Venice (courtesy of Marco Secchi, Getty Images)

Bridge of Sighs, Venice (courtesy of Marco Secchi, Getty Images)

A woman wearing a traditional carnival costume poses in front of the Bridge of Sighs in Venice. The famous bridge takes its name from a legend which tells of how prisoners on their way to their cells would be able to take one last look at beautiful Venice and sigh. The annual Venice Carnival is known around the world for its spectacular costumes and parties. The festival’s history reportedly reaches back to the 12th century, when the Republic of Venice defeated the Patriarch of Aquileia in 1162. While having a centuries-long history, the carnival (famed for its elaborate masks) has been banned for extended periods, including under Mussolini, and festivities were only officially resumed in 1979. The streets of Venice will be filled with masked revellers until February 9th, the day before Ash Wednesday.

www.theworldweekly.com

Walpole Brands Of Tomorrow: The Tastemakers Of The Future Paving The Way In Luxury By The Luxury Channel

Walpole Brands of Tomorrow 2016

Walpole Brands of Tomorrow 2016

Walpole has revealed the 2016 selections for its esteemed Brands of Tomorrow programme. The line-up comprises trailblazing innovators who have caught the attention of the world of luxury. Via carefully tailored learning, including one-to-one tutelage from industry leaders and a year-long workshop schedule, the winning brands will also be given access to Walpole’s established membership, which includes Britain’s most prestigious brands and cultural institutions.

Founded in 2007, Walpole’s Brands of Tomorrow initiative has to date helped develop and nurture over 75 emerging British luxury brands, and proudly seen them become leaders in their respective fields. It counts luxury British brands including Astley Clarke, Charlotte Olympia, Emilia Wickstead, Lily And Lionel, ME+EM, Miller Harris, Private White VC, and The Business of Fashion as alumni.

Monreal London, Richard Brendon and Aurelia Probiotic Skincare, selected as some of Walpole's 2016 Brands of Tomorrow

Monreal London, Richard Brendon and Aurelia Probiotic Skincare, selected as some of Walpole’s 2016 Brands of Tomorrow

The Selected 2016 Brands of Tomorrow

Aurelia Probiotic Skincare: New British skincare brand providing women with next generation probiotic technology, selected by Net-a-Porter a mere 8 weeks into trading.
www.aureliaskincare.com
Blaze: Global urban cycling brand founded by Emily Brooke, whose flagship bike light has been installed into London’s renowned Santander Cycles.
www.blaze.cc
Cubitts: Modestly priced, handmade spectacles and sunglasses in classic British styles.
www.cubitts.co.uk
Half Hitch Gin: After rediscovering one of London’s former long-forgotten gin glories in Camden Lock, Mark Holdsworth developed his multi-award winning spirit, Half Hitch Gin, and it is stocked in Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason.
www.halfhitch.london

Milli Millu, selected as one of Walpole's 2016 Brands of Tomorrow

Milli Millu, selected as one of Walpole’s 2016 Brands of Tomorrow

Milli Millu: London-based luxury handbag brand which has captivated global fashion editors and celebrities (including Beyoncé and Lily Collins) alike.
www.millimillu.com
Monreal London: Founded by Stefani Grosse, British active wear brand Monreal London is defining the field of luxury active wear, with high-quality designer aesthetics combined with technical performance. The brand’s first capsule collection of tennis dresses sold out instantly at Harrods.
www.monreallondon.com
Noble Isle: Inspired by the natural and cultural riches of the British Isles, each Noble Isle product is set to become a new tradition in luxury bathing.
www.nobleisle.com
Penrose Products: With sustainability and quality at the heart of their operation, British manufacturer Penrose Products offer luxury natural fibre bedding of unprecedented sustainability.
www.penroseproducts.com
Richard Brendon: Passionate about regenerating heritage craft industries, Richard Brendon’s skill lies in transforming past elements into striking modern designs.
www.richardbrendon.com

Noble Isle, selected as one of Walpole's 2016 Brands of Tomorrow

Noble Isle, selected as one of Walpole’s 2016 Brands of Tomorrow

Solomon & Wu: Unique combination of craftsmanship, innovation and product is sought out by the finest architects around the world, with the brand proudly continuing a tradition of manufacturing British modern heritage pieces for the global luxury market, for companies such as Alexander McQueen, Christian Louboutin and Kempinski Hotels.
www.solomonandwu.com
The Fold: New contemporary womenswear label now recognised as the go-to lifestyle brand for high-profile dressing by women worldwide, including the Duchess of Cambridge, Samantha Cameron and Kim Murray.
www.thefoldlondon.com
Tom Raffield: Practical in form and beautiful in nature, Tom Raffield’s heirloom-worthy, luxury handcrafted wooden lighting and furniture designs have been championed as the antiques of the future.
www.tomraffield.com

The Battle For The Final Frontier By The Luxury Channel

For the very few of our planet’s billionaires who can afford to tackle space travel, their journeys are not always that easy. We see who is battling it out for their place in the galaxy and how successful they have been….

Space satellite orbiting the earth.  Elements of this image furnished by NASA.  Image courtesy of Andrey Armyagov and Getty Images.

Space satellite orbiting the earth. Elements of this image furnished by NASA. Image courtesy of Andrey Armyagov and Getty Images.

Jeff Bezos

Perhaps the most successful of the “space billionaires” so far, the Amazon founder’s company Blue Origin has managed to successfully launch and land a reusable rocket. The company’s New Shepard model (named after the first American in space, Alan Shepard), reached a height of 62 miles, before successfully landing back on Earth. Bezos is now allegedly planning commercial suborbital flights to start as early as 2017. Watch this space….

Elon Musk

If revolutionising the way we fuel our cars and shop online wasn’t enough, the Tesla and PayPal founder has his sights set firmly on space, with his company SpaceX. However, two attempts to land SpaceX’s Falcon 9 model ended unsuccessfully, leaving the company facing further setbacks (although rumours abound that they have tentatively scheduled another launch next month – particularly as the second attempt encouragingly saw Falcon 9 just 10 metres short of its target).

Richard Branson with 747 and LauncherOne Model

Richard Branson with 747 and LauncherOne Model

Richard Branson

The Virgin boss is well-known for his love of adventure and, after deciding that the sky isn’t quite the limit, set up Virgin Galactic to take tourists to space. Despite already having taken bookings from big names including Leonardo di Caprio and Lady Gaga, the company seems to be light years away from making this a reality. Following a disaster in 2007 that killed three engineers on the ground, the company suffered a further fatal setback when a launch last year claimed the life of one of the test pilots on-board. Whilst a new launch date is yet to be announced, the company has been quick to point out that flight testing is “the tip of the iceberg,” adding there “is a huge base of support that is required to ensure each of those test flights is successful.” One small step at a time….

Stars Rise To The Occasion At The Moët British Independent Film Awards By Jayjay Epega

BIFA (the British Independent Film Awards) has long been an industry insider. Now sponsored by Moët Chandon champagne, it is known as the platform for rising British and Irish film talent, from auteurs like Andrea Arnold to globally recognised actors like Michael Fassbender. The BIFAs are comparable to such globally-known ceremonies like the Cesars in France or the Goyas in Spain.

Kate Winslet (image courtesy of Dave Benett, Getty Images)

Kate Winslet (image courtesy of Dave Benett, Getty Images)

This year’s awards ceremony, which The Luxury Channel was delighted to attend, was held at the Old Billingsgate building and was hosted by Richard Ayoade. Major winners on the night included Kate Winslet, who received the Variety Award, which recognises a director, actor, writer or producer who has made a global impact and helped to focus the international spotlight on the UK. The Richard Harris Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Actor to British Film was presented to Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Chiwetel Ejiofor (courtesy of Getty Images)

Chiwetel Ejiofor (courtesy of Getty Images)

The movie Ex Machina, which stars Alicia Vikander, was the big winner with four awards: Best British Independent Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay for Alex Garland and Outstanding Achievement in Craft for its Visual Effects by Andrew Whitehurst. The film will be screened in 74 cinemas across the country on Sunday 13th December as part of a landmark BIFA screening series supported by the BFI.

Alicia Vikander (image courtesy of Jonathan Short / Invision / AP)

Alicia Vikander (image courtesy of Jonathan Short / Invision / AP)

Acting awards were spread across the board: Saoirse Ronan picked up Best Actress for Brooklyn and Tom Hardy won Best Actor for his dual role as Ronnie and Reggie Kray in Legend. UK favourite and BAFTA winner Olivia Colman won her third BIFA for her Best Supporting Actress performance in The Lobster, and Brendan Gleeson won Best Supporting Actor for Suffragette. Colin Farrell presented the Most Promising Newcomer Award to Abigail Hardingham for her breakthrough performance in Nina Forever.

Colin Farrell (courtesy of Getty images)

Colin Farrell (courtesy of Getty images)

The Special Jury Prize was presented to Chris Collins, the BFI executive who died late last year. Director of the BFI Lottery Film Fund Ben Roberts said, “This is a really wonderful tribute to Chris. He is greatly missed, but his contribution to so many films and filmmakers continues to burn brightly. A heartfelt thanks to the BIFA jury.”

Kate Winslet and Stanley Tucci (image courtesy of Dave Benett, Getty Images)

Kate Winslet and Stanley Tucci (image courtesy of Dave Benett, Getty Images)

In the closely-fought Best Documentary category, Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance won out over Amy, How To Change The World, Palio and A Syrian Love Story.

Moet & Chandon Champagne Pyramid (courtesy of Getty Images)

Moet & Chandon Champagne Pyramid (courtesy of Getty Images)

Julie Nollet, Marketing & Communications Director at Moët Hennessy UK Ltd, commented that “as a longtime supporter of British film, Moët & Chandon is delighted to celebrate the very well deserved winners.” Guests joined in pouring Moët & Chandon Champagne into a giant pyramid to toast a year of amazing film achievement, and were also gifted with a bottle to take home.

For more information and full list of winners, please click here.

The Tusk Conservation Awards 2015 By The Luxury Channel

HRH The Duke of Cambridge, Garth Owen-Smith, Dr. Emmanuel de Merode and Edward Ndiritu

HRH The Duke of Cambridge, Garth Owen-Smith, Dr. Emmanuel de Merode and Edward Ndiritu

The Luxury Channel, as a guest of Land Rover, joined Tusk and its Royal Patron HRH The Duke of Cambridge to recognise excellence in conservation in Africa. Dr. Emmanuel de Merode was presented the 2015 Tusk Conservation Award at the awards ceremony held at Claridge’s in London. The award, sponsored by Land Rover, celebrates emerging leaders in conservation in Africa whose work has made a significant impact. The Duke of Cambridge revealed he was “honoured to support the Tusk Conservation Awards once again,” adding: “There is so much great work being undertaken by some truly inspirational people who never seek the limelight and, when I hear about their achievements, it gives me a real sense of hope for the future.”

Elephants

Dr. Emmanuel was awarded for his commitment to conservation and his remarkable achievements protecting Virunga’s exceptional biodiversity throughout 25 years of civil war and life-threatening situations. Amongst many achievements, he has brokered agreements with rebel leaders enabling his rangers to return to their homes and work. He has also established long-term development programmes to secure the future economic viability of Virunga.

Land Rover

Land Rover’s collaboration with Tusk started over 15 years ago, when they first supported the Lewa Marathon in Kenya. The Trust has also been supported with Land Rover vehicles, which are in constant use supporting the Trust’s work across Africa.

The Winners

The Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa – Garth Owen-Smith

The Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa – Dr. Emmanuel de Merode

The Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award – Edward Ndiritu

Further Information

Tusk Trust – www.tusk.org

Land Rover – www.landrover.co.uk

Or see our film by clicking here.

The BMW Art Car By Camilla Hellman

The BMW Art Car by Andy Warhol

The BMW Art Car by Andy Warhol

The driving rain did not cool the mood and anticipation at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, when BMW announced that the BMW Art Car artists will be John Baldessari and Cao Fei for Racing Cars #18 and #19 in the series.

BMW Event

In 1975, French race car driver and auctioneer Hervé Poulain invited an artist to create a canvas on an automobile, commissioning American artist Alexander Calder to paint the first BMW Art Car. The car was raced in 1975 by Poulain at Le Mans.

The BMW Art Car by Alexander Calder

The BMW Art Car by Alexander Calder

Amongst the 17 artists who have to date used the BMW Racing Car for their canvas are David Hockney, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons and Frank Stella. Artists for the BMW Art Car Project are chosen by a panel of international judges.

The BMW Art Car by Jeff Koons

The BMW Art Car by Jeff Koons

The 2016 BMW Art Car #18 and #19 will be unveiled later next year. The cars will race once and then join the BMW Art Car Collection in Munich, travelling to museums in 2017. To learn more of the project, click here.

World Boutique Hotel Awards By The Luxury Channel

World's Best Boutique Hotel - Royal Mansour in Marrakech, Morocco

World’s Best Boutique Hotel – Royal Mansour in Marrakech, Morocco

The winners and runners-up of the World Boutique Hotel Awards 2015 were announced at a glittering awards ceremony held at the Montcalm Hotel in London. The ceremony brought together an array of boutique hotel owners, travel press and travel industry influencers from all four corners of the world, who came together to share in their passion for creating unique travel experiences.

This year’s keynote speech was delivered by Robin Sheppard, chairman of Bespoke Hotels, and other esteemed guest presenters and speakers at the event included Paolo Macchiaroli, founder of My Private Villas, Hilary Lancaster from Fusion Interiors Group and Boutique Hotel News, James Fisher from Globe Trotter luxury luggage and Rosalind Milani Gallieni of RMG PR & Events.

Royal Mansour, Marrakech, Morocco

Royal Mansour, Marrakech, Morocco

The event also saw the launch of Master Key Society, which embarks on a new collaborative venture to create valuable relationships exclusively amongst the Winners of the WBHA, by facilitating hotel exchange visits between them, to share know-how and experience.

The 2015 Best In Region and World’s Best Category Winners are listed below, all of whom delivered unique excellence:

World’s Best Boutique Hotel

Royal Mansour, Marrakech, Morocco

Best In Region Winners

Africa’s Best Boutique Hotel – Royal Mansour, Marrakech, Morocco
The Americas’ Best Boutique Hotel – Villa Sand Club, St Barts, French West Indies
South East Asia’s Best Boutique Hotel – Awarta Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia
Asia’s Best Boutique Hotel – Suryagarh, Jaisalmer, India
Australasia’s Best Boutique Hotel – Spicers Peak Lodge, Australia
Europe’s Best Boutique Hotel – Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal, Paris, France

Villa Sand Club, St Barts

Villa Sand Club, St Barts

World’s Best Winners

World’s Best Beach Boutique Hotel – Drake Bay Getaway Resort, Costa Rica
World’s Best City Boutique Hotel – Library Hotel, New York, USA
World’s Best Classic Boutique Hotel – Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur, India
World’s Best Culinary Boutique Hotel – The Capital Hotel, London, UK
World’s Best Design Boutique Hotel – Only You Hotel & Lounge Madrid, Spain
World’s Best Honeymoon Boutique Hotel – Pondoro Game Lodge, South Africa
World’s Best New Boutique Hotel – The Norman, Tel Aviv, Israel
World’s Best Relaxation Retreat – Saffire Freycinet, Tasmania, Australia
World’s Best Romantic Boutique Hotel – Ca Maria Adele, Venice, Italy
World’s Best Sustainable Boutique Hotel – El Nido Pangulasian Island, Philippines
World’s Best Spa Hotel Gaia Retreat & Spa, Australia
World’s Best Private Villa – Coco Privé, Maldives

Coco Privé, Maldives

Coco Privé, Maldives

For further information about the Awards, go to www.boutiquehotelawards.com

The Business of Luxury By Tim Jackson

This year’s FT Business of Luxury Summit shed new light on the Chinese market and the digital directions influencing the industry…

Monaco

ECONOMIC DISRUPTION

A key theme emerging across the conference was disruption, which has occurred in luxury markets in part due to a weak euro and its associated impact on global pricing and demand.

Global Outlook

Martin Wolf, associate editor and chief economics commentator of The Financial Times, offered insights into the global macro-economic outlook, based on the latest forecasts from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): “Yet again, the US is very disappointing, with [forecast] growth of only 2% this year, which is well below what people had been expecting. The Eurozone is in recovery at 1.4%, Japan at 0.7% and global growth at 2.1%. It’s a  
very weak year.” Wolf noted that inflation remains extraordinarily low, with no economy expected to hit its inflation target. However, the Eurozone is enjoying a year of growth. “If everything goes well, according to my calculations, Eurozone GDP next year should be more or less where it was before  
the crisis began, so it’s almost a lost decade, but nonetheless there is growth,” Wolf said.

BRIC Futures

Commenting on the state of the BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China), Wolf predicted that China would be the largest global economy in the long term, but added that India was set to be very significant, too: “We have underplayed India. It’s quite difficult to imagine a world in which India isn’t the fastest growing major economy over the next generation. It has some very attractive characteristics.” Wolf stressed that China is still in development: “Relatively, China still remains quite a poor country. It’s a middle­ income country with a GDP per head of only a quarter of the US. But it would still seem to have a lot of potential.”

The macro-economic outlook is discussed by Citi Chief Economist Willem H. Buiter, Fulcrum Asset Management Chairman Gavyn Davies and Martin Wolf

The macro-economic outlook is discussed by Citi Chief Economist Willem H. Buiter, Fulcrum Asset Management Chairman Gavyn Davies and The Financial Times Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator Martin Wolf

DIGITAL ENGAGEMENT

Nathalie Remy, a partner at global management consulting firm McKinsey, explored the impact of the digital and mobile revolution on luxury sales.

Smartphone Power

Remy observed that luxury consumers are much more “mobile digital” than the rest of the population: “95% of luxury consumers in the world are smartphone­-equipped. That’s 100% in most big cities. As a comparison, in the US, the smartphone penetration is only 60% in the total population. Some 80% of luxury consumers use social media at least once a month and two out of three weekly, and they are very active users: 65% of them are posting pictures, comments and reviews at least once a month.”

Digital Influencers

The implication for brands is that the power is shifting to consumers. Remy noted that the Instagram content posted by consumers with the hashtag of a brand, compared with what brands post on their official Instagram accounts, is 10,000:1 for each piece of content. McKinsey research also revealed that 68% of luxury sales today are influenced by a brand’s digital presence, meaning that online represents a growth driver beyond pure e-­commerce.

Louis Vuitton

Online Sales Growth

The share of online as a channel in luxury sales is growing. The UK is leading, with 11% of luxury sales now online, compared with 6% across the US, France and China. Remy predicts that this average will triple to 18% by 2025, creating an online luxury market valued at $70bn, effectively the third­largest market after the US and China. On average, luxury consumers go through nine brand touchpoints before making a purchase. This number varies from six in the UK to 13 in China, reflecting different levels of maturity in the market and consumer needs. The top five touchpoints include, in order of importance, city store, word­-of­-mouth referral, online search results, the brand’s sales paper and the brand’s website. All of these touchpoints must work together in an integrated way.

Physical Presence

Martin Bartle, global communications and e­-commerce director at British lingerie retailer Agent Provocateur, noted that while e-­commerce accounts for 20% of the company’s business, overall sales growth is driven by the rollout of physical stores. “When we turn up in Hong Kong, we are totally new to that market: we have to establish ourselves. It’s about customer experience. Agent Provocateur is a very immersive experience and once you’ve experienced that, you’re going to be moved. Our wealthiest, most global customers are the most likely to be shopping in both channels.” 

The digital revolution is discussed by Agent Provocateur and McKinsey Partner Nathalie Remy

The digital revolution is discussed by Agent Provocateur’s Global Communications and E-Commerce Director Martin Bartle and Nathalie Remy, partner at McKinsey

LUXURY IN CHINA: NEW DIRECTIONS

The Chinese luxury market has changed dramatically over the past year. Before the anti­-corruption campaign began in the country, 65% of global watch sales were to Chinese consumers, but that figure has now dropped to 25%, noted Jamil Anderlini, Beijing bureau chief at The Financial Times. The country’s luxury consumers are becoming more demanding, as they seek out greater discounts and highly detailed product information.

Buying Abroad

Last year, 107 million Chinese travelled abroad. David Tang, founder of international brand Shanghai Tang, observed that fewer Chinese are buying at home. “In today’s China, you will see all the big-­name brands in all the cities. The question is: are the Chinese mainlanders still buying? My contention is definitely much less and it’s going to be even less. The main problem is that there are three taxes on luxury goods: VAT at 17%, import duty of 25­-65% and consumption tax at 30%. So anything you see in China is bound to be at least 50-100% more than what it would be from the country of origin.”

Rising Middle Class

 
Tang highlighted the growing importance of China’s middle class, defined as those who earn $30,000 per year: “[These consumers] are aged between 25 and 40 – much younger than the demographics of the Western world. But there were 78 million of them [families] last year. Times three one-­child families, you are talking about 228 million people. Within five years, that will go beyond 310 million. What this means is that the consumer will be younger, more energetic and thoroughly conversant with the internet. They all know about the prices – they have conversion tables.”  

David Tang discusses crisis, consolidation and the new consumer in China

David Tang discusses crisis, consolidation and the new consumer in China

Discounts Count

Tang confirmed the importance of discounts for Chinese consumers: “If you go to the Shanghai Free­Trade Zone, which opened a few months ago, you can buy a BMW or an Audi at a discount of 25% (parallel imports from Dubai or South Africa)….So there will be many more people wanting to buy things at a discount. This idea of discount is what matters. If you want to succeed in China in retail in the immediate future, you will have to contend with the new consumer, who is much younger and much more conscious about prices.” 

Curious Consumers

 
One result of the anti­-corruption clampdown is that consumers are buying for themselves. “Now people are buying for themselves, they are becoming more demanding,” said Stefano Canali, general manager at Italian luxury clothing company Canali. “They want to know everything about the brands, and they want to know whether the product they are buying is worth the money. They are becoming curious about every single detail. So we still need to have stores in China, which have Chinese staff who are knowledgeable and well-­trained to explain the reason why [they should buy].”    

Retail Slowdown

Jiang Shan, chief executive of Prowon Consulting, which advises on dealing with the superwealthy in China, noted a slowdown in luxury retailing in China: “If you go to Plaza 66, the first luxury shoppingmall in Shanghai, it is very quiet. On the ground floor, there are people in Louis Vuitton, there are a few in Dior, there’s nobody in the other shops sometimes and there are a lot in Chanel. I think the honeymoon good times for luxury brands in China have gone, and I don’t know when they are coming back.”

Plaza 66

Plaza 66 shopping mall in Shanghai, China


 

Changing Tastes

Shan puts shifting consumption patterns down to changing tastes. The first generation of luxury shoppers is looking for something new and different from the big luxury brands, he said. “They give up the Louis Vuitton bags and they come back to some Chinese designers. They don’t need the brands to show their tastes any more.” Shan also indicated that the second generation, the sons and daughters, don’t follow their parents’ original preferences for large global brands, but instead prefer ‘avant-garde’ brands such as Rick Owens and Stella McCartney. “There are tonnes of brands they can choose from to be different from their parents.” 

Better Fortunes

Shan added that very wealthy Chinese consumers have some spending priorities that are not seen in the West, including hiring fortune­ tellers. “There are a few super-­rich families who I feel are getting back to the older Chinese traditions. The fortune teller is an interesting phenomenon. Wealthy consumers have their own private jet and they always have their fortune ­teller with them.” The influence is far-­reaching, affecting business decisions and even changing personal names. “I was shocked to see they believe them so much and they spend millions to change the name of a property deal or even their daughter if she cannot find a nice boyfriend,” Shan said.

Rick Owens and Stella McCartney

IN CONCLUSION – FUTURE INSIGHTS

“If you want to succeed in China in retail in the immediate future….you will have to contend with the new consumer, who is much younger and much more conscious about prices. They want discounts,” warns Shanghai Tang founder David Tang. Also, as a result of the anti-­corruption clampdown, China’s  
consumers are buying for themselves and want more information about the brands and products they are buying. Retailers should satisfy their demands by providing in­-depth knowledge.

First published by Stylus Media Group.

Fabergé: A Life of Its Own By The Luxury Channel

The Fabergé Blue Serpent Egg, presented by Czar Nicholas II to his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, Easter 1885. It is currently owned by Prince Albert II of Monaco.

The Fabergé Blue Serpent Egg, presented by Czar Nicholas II to his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, Easter 1885. It is currently owned by Prince Albert II of Monaco.

Not sure what to watch next at the cinema? We recommend Fabergé: A Life of Its Own, which charts the rich history behind the iconic luxury brand Fabergé, from the monumental rise of “artist jeweller” Peter Carl Fabergé in the 19th Century, to the enduring legacy of Fabergé today. The film’s director, Patrick Mark, reveals that the film is “an incredibly rich and complex story, full of emotion, mystery and wonderful characters.”

Fabergé Four Seasons Egg

Fabergé Four Seasons Egg

The film offers unprecedented access to renowned private collections, living descendants of the Fabergé family and international Fabergé experts, as well as a few other gems – for instance, the remarkable story of the Imperial Egg, long believed to be lost until its surprise discovery by a scrap metal dealer last year, before it was sold privately for an estimated $30 million. Additionally, the first Imperial Class Egg produced for 99 years – The Pearl Egg – commissioned to mark 100 years since the production of the last Imperial Egg for Czar Nicolas II, will be unveiled to audiences in exquisite close-up detail, showcasing its shell of over 3,000 diamonds and natural pearls.

The Fabergé Pearl Egg

The Fabergé Pearl Egg

The film also recounts the compelling history of the Fabergé brand, told by two of Peter Carl Fabergé’s great-granddaughters. Tatiana Fabergé recalls the dramatic upheaval of the House of Fabergé from Russia to Europe during the Russian Revolution, whilst Sarah Fabergé introduces the modern incarnations of Fabergé’s jewellery. Interviews with the world’s foremost Fabergé authorities provide fascinating details about the craftsmanship and techniques used to create extraordinary masterpieces and explain the centuries-long appeal of this iconic luxury brand.

Portrait miniatures of Czar Nicholas II & Czarina Alexandra Feodorvna in a diamond-set double frame by Fabergé, c1880s

Portrait miniatures of Czar Nicholas II & Czarina Alexandra Feodorvna in a diamond-set double frame by Fabergé, c1880s

The film has already collected the award for Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking at Newport Beach Film Festival, Best Documentary at Palm Beach International Film Festival and the Jury Award: Documentary at the Beverly Hills Film Festival. “I think that every collector in every different collecting field has a different motivation – but I think that with Fabergé there is something special,” director Patrick Mark tells us. “When the Russian Revolution arrived, the Imperial Romanov dynasty was extinguished. The Tsar and his family were brutally executed in Ekaterinburg. I think that many people are still fascinated by their tragic fate, especially the beautiful Grand Duchesses and the young Tsarevich Alexei. For many people, Fabergé objects are beautiful, mysterious and tangible reminders of that family and their vanished world.”

The Imperial Family of Russia c1914,  in a Fabergé frame.

The Imperial Family of Russia c1914, in a Fabergé frame.

With most Fabergé pieces held in private ownership or confined to a small number of museums, Fabergé: A Life of Its Own will give audiences a rare chance to experience these magnificent creations on the big screen, and the only opportunity to see two historical pieces before they return to the secrecy of their very private collections. “We were very lucky to be granted access to some of the great collections of Fabergé, including Her Majesty the Queen’s collection in London, His Serene Highness Prince Albert’s in Monte Carlo, the Hermitage in St Petersburg and many other wonderful public and private collections in USA, UK, France and Russia,” Mark reveals. “Once the curators and collectors understood that our film was a well-researched and serious enterprise, they were extremely generous with their time and knowledge. Like any collectors, they love to talk about their passion!”

The Fabergé Twelve Monogram Egg (also known as the Alexander III Portraits Egg) 1896

The Fabergé Twelve Monogram Egg (also known as the Alexander III Portraits Egg) 1896

For more information, go to www.faberge.com. Fabergé: A Life of Its Own will be released in Picturehouse and selected independent cinemas throughout July and August. For further screening information, visit www.fabergefilm.com. See the film trailer below:

300 Years of The House of Martell By Harriet O'Grady

An experiential exhibition representing each stage of Martell's unique cognac expertise at Martell Cognac's 300th anniversary event, held at the Palace of Versailles, France (photo by Julien M. Hekimian, Getty Images)

An experiential exhibition representing each stage of Martell’s unique cognac expertise at Martell Cognac’s 300th anniversary event, held at the Palace of Versailles, France (image courtesy of Julien M. Hekimian, Getty Images)

Martell Cognac, steeped in history and glamour, is the reason why we gathered in the most beautiful surroundings, at the Palace of Versailles. Pernod Ricard, the owners of Martell and justifiably proud of this jewel in their crown, decided to pull out all the stops to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the founding of the House of Martell and indeed, what an evening it turned out to be.

Martell Cognac at the Palace of Versailles, France (photo by Julien M. Hekimian, Getty Images)

Martell Cognac at the Palace of Versailles, France (image courtesy of Julien M. Hekimian, Getty Images)

Our host Philippe Guettat, Chairman and CEO of Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouet, warmly welcomed us, explaining that the celebrations were taking place at Versailles because it is the embodiment of French art de vivre – Martell is similarly an expression of this, and so the two go hand in hand. Diane Kruger, Martell’s ambassador, charmed us all with her beauty and told us she is rooted in French culture.

Diane Kruger at the Palace of Versailles, France  (image courtesy of Bertrand Rindoff Petroff, Getty Images)

Diane Kruger at the Palace of Versailles, France (image courtesy of Bertrand Rindoff Petroff, Getty Images)

The Gallerie des Glaces sparkled as the evening light filtered through the great windows and was reflected in the glass panels beyond. We stood outside on the main terrace admiring the endless views designed by Le Notre. From afar, we perceived a line of planes. Slowly they came in our direction and flew over us in perfect formation, streaming colours of blue white and red, to the sound of classical music. Again we saw them in the distance, and again they came back, and again. It was breathtakingly beautiful.

Aerial display and fly past by the Patrouille de France in the gardens of the historic Chateau de Versailles, France (image courtesy of Kristy Sparow, Getty Images)

Aerial display and fly past by the Patrouille de France in the gardens of the historic Chateau de Versailles, France (image courtesy of Kristy Sparow, Getty Images)

We then moved down to the Orangerie for a seven course dinner by Chef Paul Pairet and a multi-sensory experience of taste, sight, sound and smell designed around founder Jean Martell’s original journey to Cognac. Two cinema screens ran the lengths of the Orangerie with projections of various brightly coloured Martell ads. A black wicker basket had been put on each place setting. Once we were seated, the baskets were swiftly removed to reveal our first course: DIY Lobster roll with Martell Tricentenaire Cognac Cocktail “The Independent.”

A fully immersive gastronomic experience, designed around Jean Martell's original journey to Cognac, is served to guests by world-renowned French chef Paul Pairet at Martell's 300th anniversary celebration at the Palace of Versailles, France (image courtesy of Bertrand Rindoff Petroff, Getty Images)

A fully immersive gastronomic experience, designed around Jean Martell’s original journey to Cognac, is served to guests by world-renowned French chef Paul Pairet at Martell’s 300th anniversary celebration at the Palace of Versailles, France (image courtesy of Bertrand Rindoff Petroff, Getty Images)

At the same time, the ads were replaced by a bucolic scene of countryside and trees. When the first course ended, there was a roar and we felt ourselves moving down down into the earth because that was what was happening on the screen. It was the most powerful sensation. And so the meal proceeded. The evening ended with a magnificent display of fireworks followed by dancing. It could not have been more magical.

Guests watch an incredible firework display over the Palace of Versailles to conclude Martell Cognac's spectacular 300th anniversary celebration at the Chateau de Versailles, France (image courtesy of Kristy Sparow, Getty Images)

Guests watch an incredible firework display over the Palace of Versailles to conclude Martell Cognac’s spectacular 300th anniversary celebration at the Chateau de Versailles, France (image courtesy of Kristy Sparow, Getty Images)

But let us go to where it all began, to Cognac. In the past, merchants from northern Europe came to Cognac in western France to buy wine to import into England, Belgium and the Netherlands. Often, by the time the wine reached its destination, it had turned and begun to decay. The Dutch, who had perfected the art of distillation, had the good idea to preserve it by transforming it into eau-de-vie. They called it brandwyn or burnt wine. This is the origin of the English word brandy.

Martell Cognac at Chateau de Versailles, France (image courtesy of Kristy Sparow, Getty Images)

Martell Cognac at Chateau de Versailles, France (image courtesy of Kristy Sparow, Getty Images)

In 1715, 21 year old Jean Martell came to Cognac. An Englishman from Jersey in the Channel Islands, he had been an apprentice in the wine trade for seven years and, perceiving a business opportunity, decided to found a distillery in Cognac. Hennessy, Hine, Remy Martin and Courvoisier cognacs go back hundreds of years, but Martell is the oldest of them all. For 40 years, Jean Martell created bonds with local growers that would last for generations. He also made a point of acquiring many of the best lands known as “borderies.” By 1775, a first shipment of cognac was sent to the US and in 1858 to Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam and Korea, setting Martell on its global course.

Martell Cognac's 300th anniversary celebration at the Palace of Versailles, France (image courtesy of Christopher Furlong, Getty Images)

Martell Cognac’s 300th anniversary celebration at the Palace of Versailles, France (image courtesy of Christopher Furlong, Getty Images)

Martell’s famous Cordon Bleu was created in 1912 and launched at the Hotel de Paris in Monaco. In 1956, it was served at a gala dinner for Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco, in 1957 to Queen Elizabeth in Paris and in 1977 on Concorde. In even appears in the 1979 film Apocalypse Now, where Martin Sheen’s character is seen savouring a Martell Cordon Bleu.

Martell Cognac

We stand in a 35 year old vineyard in front of one of Martell’s two distilleries, a short drive from Cognac. Mr. Pinot picks up a handful of earth, a mixture of clay and flint stones, but in his hands, it becomes special. We are looking at it slightly mesmerised, as if it were gold. Indeed it is, because it is this soil that has produced the grapes that have made cognac one of the great success stories of the spirits industry.

Vineyard

One would imagine that in this aristocratic soil would grow the most aristocratic grape, but not so. A buxom, perfectly ordinary variety from Italy, called Ugni Blanc, is the plant of choice. But cultivated here, it will turn into a floral and fruity eau-de-vie of great finesse. The grapes are harvested in the autumn and turned into white wine, which is then distilled twice in copper vats. A particularity of Martell is that its eau-de-vie is free from sediment, which gives it a complex taste.

Diane Kruger, Ambassador of Martell Cognac's Tricentenaire and Philippe Guettat, Martell's CEO, are pictured during a spectacular evening honouring the cognac House's 300th anniversary at the Palace of Versailles, France (image courtesy of David M. Benett, Getty Images)

Diane Kruger, Ambassador of Martell Cognac’s Tricentenaire and Philippe Guettat, Martell’s CEO, are pictured during a spectacular evening honouring the cognac House’s 300th anniversary at the Palace of Versailles, France (image courtesy of David M. Benett, Getty Images)

The distilled eau-de-vie is stored for at least 2 years in fine grained wooden barrels made from 30 year old French oaks. Some barrels are 300 years old and still in use. The fine grain has silkier tannins which are slowly released to produce a delicate eau-de-vie. The cellar master will decide when maturation has reached its optimum peak. At this point, it is transferred to glass demijohns when the maturing process immediately stops. Some eaux-de-vie are hundreds of years old. Not one is the same because so many factors will have come into play. The job of the cellar master is to know how to combine different eaux-de-vie to make a blend. Martell’s cellar master is 38 year old Benoit Fil. Mr. Fil has the nose of a perfumer, the memory of an elephant and the ability to imagine new blends. He is quick to point out that his work is very much a team effort but he does concede that each cellar master has his taste preferences and personality. He is also aware that there are 300 years of craftsmanship behind him. “I work in the same path as my predecessors,” he reveals. He recreates well known and loved blends. For example, he will not change the taste of Cordon Bleu – no easy feat as yearly climate and growing conditions will also have an impact on the taste of the grape.

Olivia Palermo at a private tour of the iconic Palace of Versailles, during Martell Cognacs 300th anniversary event at Versailles, France (image courtesy of Bertrand Rindoff Petroff, Getty Images)

Olivia Palermo at a private tour of the iconic Palace of Versailles, during Martell Cognacs 300th anniversary event at Versailles, France (image courtesy of Bertrand Rindoff Petroff, Getty Images)

One cannot but be impressed by the loyalty of those who work for Martell. Monsieur Bertrand Guinoiseau has worked for Martell for 36 years and his father for 42 years. I ask him if a rival offered him a fantastic sum of money, would he leave? He looks affronted. “Jamais. Never!” he replies emphatically. “Martell is in our blood; it is a part of us. There is something very special about working for Martell.” He proudly shows us, and we taste, feeling rather honoured, Martell’s Assemblage Exclusif de 3 Millesimes, created to celebrate Martell’s anniversary. This is made up of 3 blends: a 1957 full-bodied Grande Champagne symbolising the foundation of Martell and emblematic of the 18th Century; a 1982 Fin Bois for lightness and geographical expansion in the 19th Century; and a 1979 Borderies for roundness and the delicacy of the Belle Epoque.

Actress and Martell Tricentenaire ambassador Diane Kruger after watching an incredible aerial display and fly-past by the Patrouille de France in the gardens of the historic Palace of Versailles, France (image courtesy of David M. Benett, Getty Images)

Actress and Martell Tricentenaire ambassador Diane Kruger after watching an incredible aerial display and fly-past by the Patrouille de France in the gardens of the historic Palace of Versailles, France (image courtesy of David M. Benett, Getty Images)

He points out that cognac can be drunk at any time of the day and also with meals. It should not be warmed and it is a mistake to drink it from a balloon glass which allows the flavours to escape, but rather in a tulip-shaped one that concentrates and expands the aromas. Finally, a shiny cognac is an old cognac, which is a good thing. I will also add that the celebrated Parisian patissier Pierre Herme has developed a special chocolate macaroon to complement Cordon Bleu. The combination is utterly delicious. In fact, the French refer to the 4 Cs: Cognac, Chocolate, Cigars, Coffee.

Martell Archives

Finally, we are allowed privileged access to the archives, which are not open to the public, which date back to the time of Jean Martell. His handwriting is even there in one of the ledgers – there is something deeply moving about seeing this. Did he realise how strong his legacy would be and that 300 years later, a party would be hosted in his honour at Versailles, no less? A party fit for King Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette combined.

For more information, go to www.martell.com, or see our film here.

The Winds of Change – Henley Festival’s CEO Is A Breath of Fresh Air By Fiona Sanderson

Every year, the Henley Festival of Music and the Arts is held on the banks of the River Thames. It is held on the same spot as the Henley Royal Regatta, which takes place the week before. The Henley Festival has established itself as a unique experience, bringing together world-class musicians, performers and artists over five days, in one of England’s most magical settings. An event of both style and substance, the Festival’s showcase spans classical, rock, pop, jazz, opera and folk music, with headline acts gracing Henley’s famous floating stage. There are a host of visual arts and dance, as well as comedy from leading comedians and actors.

Henley Festival

Having been to the Festival over many years, I have witnessed this spectacle both from the lawns and from a boat. Black tie is the norm for the lawns and definitely warm and colourful clothing for the boats. The river is awash with all kinds of boats and is certainly a jamboree of colour and sights!

Acrobat

I managed to catch up with the Festival’s new CEO, Charlotte Geeves, who has taken over from Gill Mitchell, who headed the Henley Festival for ten years. Whilst the new CEO’s background is firmly routed in the arts, Geeves admits that she’s never actually been to the Festival before. That aside, she has had an illustrious career working with a host of famous artistic directors at Shakespeare’s Globe, Sadler’s Wells and Salisbury International Arts Festival, and no doubt will find her feet very quickly.

Charlotte Geeves

So, just how daunting a prospect is it to take over the helm? “I was attracted by the offer as I love music festivals,” she enthuses. “I thought it presented a great opportunity; one I was ready to grab with both hands.” Well, quite. After all, who wouldn’t want to be involved in a festival who, over the years, has boasted some pretty big names? This year is no exception, of course, with legendary performers Lionel Richie and Spandau Ballet set to take to the floating stage, and comedians Adam Hills and Mark Watson are billed to provide the laughs later on.

Lionel Richie

As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but surely Geeves is going to want to input some sort of change? “The most sensible thing is to get to know the festival properly before making any big decisions,” she says candidly. “I think you learn a lot from actually going, rather than bringing in sweeping changes that might not be appropriate.” Ah yes, of course – because Geeves hasn’t ever attended, she wants to experience the festival first-hand before making any changes. Although Geeves won’t tell me about her plans for future festivals, she does tell me that she shares a musical empathy with Stewart Collins, the Festival’s Artistic Director, who has been at the helm for over 25 years. “We have some pretty eclectic ideas and hope to push some musical boundaries,” she tells me. “There is no other festival like Henley and we hope to bring some refreshing ideas, as well as staying loyal to our classical audience,” she says.

Lords of Lightening

Geeves has relocated her family to Henley to be fully immersed in the community here. “It’s really important that I’m living in the town where the festival happens, so I can get to know everyone – and vice versa,” she says. “Building links with the community is vital.” As a life-long Henley resident, I couldn’t agree with her sentiment more, and she certainly seems to have her head screwed on in terms of establishing exactly what she needs to able to deliver. There are plans to re-introduce a classical element to the Festival next year, and continuing to attract big name crowd-pleasers is obviously still top of the agenda. After all, the crowds are what make the money. “The festival attracts big audiences, so we want to continue that so we can reach capacity every night,” Geeves says. “But there’s always scope to grow it – not just artistically, but also in terms of the audience.” So, with her work seemingly cut out for her and a relocation to contend with, what does she think of her new home? “I’m very happy here,” she smiles. “It’s a beautiful part of the world.”

Yoga Sculpture

So, what of the finances? Geeves tells me that the Festival is in a good financial position now and she hopes that this can only continue. As in previous years, all net proceeds from the Festival will go direct to its parent charity – The Henley Festival Trust, which finances the Festival’s charitable and community activities. Examples of some of the Trust’s work are providing visual arts workshops at the Chiltern Centre for Disabled Children, music therapy for brain-injured attendees at Headway Day Centre in Henley-on-Thames, music workshops in local schools, and instruments for promising young musicians. So all for a good cause and worth visiting for a memorable evening’s entertainment!

The Henley Festival runs from Wednesday 8th to Sunday 12th July. For more information go to www.henley-festival.co.uk.

Ornellaia – From Albertinelli To Armleder By Linda Johnson-Bell

Tuscany’s Ornellaia makes a Splash at Swiss benefit auction….

Ornellaia 2012 L'Incanto Classic and Splash by John Armleder

Ornellaia 2012 L’Incanto Classic and Splash by John Armleder

Well into his 70s, Marchese Ferninando Frescobaldi is still an attractive man. So much so, that his second wife jealously hovers about as he skilfully plies his well-honed charm before his adoring congregation of fans. We are in Basel, at the Fondation Beyeler in the grounds of the Villa Berower, for the unveiling of the iconic Tuscan wine, Ornellaia’s 7th annual Vendemmia d’Artista. This year, the Swiss artist, John Armleder, was commissioned to interpret the Ornellaia 2012 vintage by creating a piece of artwork to adorn a limited number of special-edition bottles to be auctioned by Sotheby’s for the benefit of the Beyeler. This glittering annual event celebrates the intimate relationship between wine and art, and cements the Frescobaldi family’s continuing commitment to support and recognise the great artists of their time.

Giovanni Geddes, John Armleder and Ferdinando Frescobaldi

Giovanni Geddes, John Armleder and Ferdinando Frescobaldi

This ancient Florentine family has always known how to marry their passion for public works, art and wine. Experts in all things beautiful, the family funded the original wooden Santa Trinita bridge in 1252 and later, were instrumental in the construction of the Santo Spirito, with Stoldo Frescobaldi positioning himself as an operaio, one of the committee members responsible for collecting and distributing the building funds. The family sponsored the cappella maggiore, and as patrons, were able to procure an additional unbuilt chapel. Members of the family were painted by Michelangelo, and they also supported Donatello and Michelozzi, all of whom became clients and bought their wines – or bartered them for their works.

Ornellaia

Today’s Marchese initiated the Vendemmia d’Artista project in 2009, with the intention of creating a modern interpretation of his family’s long association with artists. Although it was the Château Mouton Rothschild in 1945 that originally came up with the idea of having an artist design each vintage’s label, the Frescobaldis take it a step further. Proceeds from past auctions have gone to the Witney Museum in New York and the Royal Opera Foundation in London – hardly entities “in need,” you might say, but each recipient provides to Frescobaldi their plan for the funds: new acquisitions, funding artists, etc. This year’s exclusive auction offered 9 lots, which included 9 of the special-edition bottles which, with the help of Sotheby’s Senior Director Stephen Mould, raised 202,700 Euros.

Ornellaia

When Armleder tasted the 2012 Ornallaia for the first time, he was immediately “taken by surprise,” thrown into a pool of unexpected pleasure, a trance….and so he called the wine “L’Incanto” (the enchantment) and created “Splash,” an opulent glass sculpture that cradles and caresses the neck of the bottle. A stunning piece of fluid creativity, it transports us into Armelder’s dream. You must have a taste of your own.

Salmanazar (9 liters) Ornellaia 2012 L'Incanto by John Armleder

Salmanazar (9 liters) Ornellaia 2012 L’Incanto by John Armleder

As beautiful as the artist’s creation, the true star of the evening was the Ornellaia, one of the most famous Super Tuscans ever produced. What is a Super Tuscan? A Tuscan wine using a majority of international grapes as opposed to Sangiovese – the indigenous grape of the Chianti region. Tired of their clownish caricature of the 1970s, and the antiquated and restrictive appellation rules, Chianti Classico producers re-invented themselves in the 80s. Partly because the poor quality Chianti was making fools of them, but also because they saw what the New World producers, especially in Napa, were doing with the international (Bordeaux) varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. The market was exploding with these bold, oaky, fruit-driven, high-alcohol New World monsters, and the Old World felt left behind. The Chianti Classico of old was issued mainly from the indigenous Sangiovese and Canaiolo Nero grapes, but were also 30% or more of the white grapes Trebbiano and Malvasia. A disastrous recipe. So quality-driven, and commercially-minded, Chianti Classico producers, started planting the “international” varieties which, when added to Sangiovese, greatly improved it. It also gave them a wine with which they could compete against the French and the Americans on the international market.

Ornus 2010

However, the Chianti Classico authorities did not permit these grapes for the DOC or DOCG quality designation. In response, the producers sold their wines as Vino da Tavola, or IGT, the lower quality designations with more lax laws, and thus, the “Super Tuscan” was born. They also started planting further south where land was cheaper and not constrained by appellation law. So the Bordeaux-blend Super Tuscans ended up creating what they were trying to escape: a DOC, created in Bolgheri in 1994. The Super Tuscans, whilst huge hits on the international scene, lost their Italian identity. Today’s producers are trying to go back to a more restrained, Tuscan style of wine and some are returning to Sangiovese in their blends, but a new and improved version of the grape. They are using high-quality, low-yield Sangiovese clones to produce wines that are terroir-driven and that taste of Tuscany.

Ornellaia

Straddling both the Old and New Worlds in terms of style, Ornellaia is grown in Bolgheri, on the southern Tuscan coast of Maremma. The wines are cooled by the coastal breezes and given structure by the alluvial and volcanic soils. The wines served on the night were indeed, enchanting. The Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia 2013 (70% Sauvignon blanc, Viognier, Verdicchio, Vermentino) was fresh and lively with great acidity and structure, and a perfect accompaniment to the sautéed Swiss chard on asparagus salad with a warm hazelnut sabayon. Then came a creamy veal tartar with a sour cream dip on roasted mushroom and endive salad, which we had with Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia 2007 (Bolgheri DOC), a Bordeaux bland of 40% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot.

Le Volte 2012

Slightly marked by oak and alcohol on the nose, it developed into a vibrant, dense and intensely appealing wine. For the main course of beef tenderloin, we were spoiled with two vintages of the flagship wine, Ornellaia, in 2003 and 2013. The 2012 (56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 7% Petit Verdot) is rich, fruity and spicy and slightly slumbering at the moment, as it matures, readying itself for its next explosion of power. The 2003 was an intensely classic Ornellaia vintage – all power and vibrancy with plenty of concentration of extracts to carry it for years to come. Their 2009 Ornus dell’Ornellaia stole the show (100% Petit Manseng). This unctuous, late-harvest wine was served with an assortment of divine puddings and then followed by the Eligo dell’Ornellaia Grappa Reserva. You must have a taste of perfect luxury of your own….

Visit www.frescobaldi.it or www.ornellaia.com to get a taste. For more information about Linda Johnson-Bell, visit www.thewinelady.com.

Racing With Maserati In Monaco By Fiona Sanderson

Maserati VOR70

With boys’ toys very much at the epicentre of Monaco with luxury boats and all that goes with it, I was only too eager to say yes to a 24 hour getaway to celebrate the launch of the Maserati 2015 sailing season and to meet some of the crew – Captain Giovanni Soldini, Fiat boss John Elkan, and Prince Pierre Casiraghi the younger son of Caroline, Princess of Monaco. Quite a crew!

 John Elkann, Pierre Casiraghi and Giovanni Soldini

John Elkann, Pierre Casiraghi and Giovanni Soldini

Whilst best known for its prowess on the track, the Italian automotive giant hasn’t restricted its love of racing to the road, as the brand is also very much set on racing across the sea. Maserati and its involvement in the world of sailing dates back to the 1930s. In 2012, the relationship between Maserati and Giovanni Soldini began, when the revered Italian yachtsman, who was already a solo round-the-world winner, skippered the 70 foot Maserati yacht to set the time reference for the “monohull” category in the Cadice-San Salvador run, covering the distance in 10 days, 23 hours, 9 minutes and 2 seconds.

Maserati VOR70

Maserati VOR70

In early 2014, Soldini and the Maserati crew were first across the finishing line in the 14th edition of the Cape2Rio race, covering the 3,300 miles that separate Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro in 10 days, 11 hours, 29 minutes and 57 seconds. Soldini and the rest of his crew, including helmsman Pierre Casiraghi of Monaco, set a new regatta record. Maserati’s links with Monaco were further established in June 2014, when they announced a partnership with the Yacht Club de Monaco. Set in the fabulous location of Monaco Marina, the two brands share a strong passion for premium excellence and high performance both on land and sea. I was invited to the Yacht Club de Monaco for a press conference with Soldini and Casiraghi, to hear more about Maserati’s exciting 2015 sports programme. This also meant I got the opportunity to board the Maserati yacht in the marina, where I could only marvel at this truly beautiful machine.

Maserati in Monaco

Soldini, it turned out, was already looking ahead to his crew’s next challenge, and that came in the form of the Trade Clipper Trade Route – a 7000 mile stretch between San Francisco and Shanghai. The team completed the route in just 21 days, 19 hours, 32 minutes and 54 seconds, with Soldini hopeful that the new time “will be difficult to beat.”

Maserati Vor70

Soldini confirmed that “as always, Maserati proved what an excellent craft she is and the crew made an efficient and very tight-knit team. 21 days from San Francisco to Shanghai is a very impressive time and we will be requesting certification from the World Sailing Speed Record Council. Conditions were good almost the entire way and the first part of the route was very fast – it took us only six days to reach Hawaii. Then we had a good old gallop through the Trade Winds. The final section, as we neared China, was the trickiest as winds were light, but we were expecting that.” The Maserati’s next event is in Australia where, in late December, she’ll take part in the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race, one of the world’s most famous and challenging regattas. Good luck to all the team!

Maserati Polo

From the high seas to high teas, as I was invited along to watch the Maserati Jerudong Park Polo Trophy contested at Cirencester Park Polo Club. Playing in the match on the iconic Ivy Lodge ground was a very special guest, HRH Prince Harry, who was playing in the BMG Team against the opposing Maserati Team. In the end, it was the Maserati Team that secured a well-contested victory, with a final score of 8-7. Commiserations to Team BMG, although it wasn’t all disappointment as Prince Harry was named “Most Valuable Player.” Peter Denton, Region Manager Maserati North Europe, presented the winning team with the trophy alongside the club’s chairman, Kuldip Dhillon. Speaking about the event, Denton said “Maserati was proud to be at Cirencester Park Polo Club for such a momentous match on the British social calendar. Polo is about passion, performance, glamour and style – values which we share at Maserati.”

Maserati at the Jerudong Polo

Maserati at the Jerudong Polo

Maserati also showcased an array of its ultra-luxurious vehicles at Cirencester, including the flagship Quattroporte models. I was lucky enough to test drive one of these fabulous machines over the weekend, and was amazed by how smooth it was to drive and how easily it handled. Maserati might be more famous for building sports cars, but with a strong heritage in luxurious saloon cars too, the current Maserati Quattroporte is a good-looking car. Its striking looks don’t end with the exterior styling – the interior is just as extrovert, making this one extremely desirable car. The Quattroporte is a really great car, especially on the twisting roads between the Chilterns and Cirencester.

 Maseratis at the Jerudong Polo

Maseratis at the Jerudong Polo

The Quattroporte is pretty luxurious, with real Italian flair and understated elegance. High-quality leather, wood and metal is the order of the day and the seats were very well shaped and cushioned. The car’s sporty inclinations mean the suspension is firmer than you get with the more traditional executive cars like the Mercedes S-Class, and I found it really very comfortable on this long drive. My other half sat in the back (he likes women chauffeurs) and the extra 107mm in between the front and rear wheels compared to the old model has greatly boosted the amount of space available to rear passengers. The car felt light on its feet through tight and twisty roads – and that is seriously impressive considering this car is not small. I was very impressed and could be a convert if my arm was twisted!

For further information, please go to www.maserati.com, or watch the film here.

Goran Ivanisevic Gives The Summer Tennis Season A Kick-Start By The Luxury Channel

The Hurlingham Club

Former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic has confirmed he will play at the BNP Paribas Tennis Classic at The Hurlingham Club in London this June – the perfect appetiser to Wimbledon. Best known for being the first wildcard entry to win Wimbledon, Ivanisevic revealed the Tennis Classic is “always such a great way to kick-start the summer tennis season. It’s not only a great warm-up for the ATP players, it’s also a fantastic event for us Legends to play against our old rivals again.”

Henri Le Conte and Mansour Bahrami

Alongside legends of the game will be many top ATP stars playing their final practice matches before Wimbledon, with three of the world’s top 10 confirmed to date – world no. 10 and current US Open champion Marin Cilic, world No.5 Kei Nishikori and World No.9 Tomáš Berdych.

Andy Murray Shakes Hands

The BNP Paribas Tennis Classic takes place at the height of the summer tennis season and is one of the most intimate tennis events in the social calendar. The tournament brings together a combination of timeless elegance and quintessentially English traditions, giving spectators the opportunity to combine unforgettable tennis with first-rate hospitality experiences whilst escaping the crowds in one of London’s most intimate and breath-taking settings.

Pete McNamara

The BNP Paribas Tennis Classic takes place at The Hurlingham Club, Ranelagh Gardens, London, SW6 3PR from Tuesday 23rd – Friday 26th June 2015. For booking information, call +44 (0)20 8233 5854 or go to www.BNPParibasTennisClassic.com.

Kevin Spacey Steals The Show At The Oliviers By Jayjay Epega

Kevin Spacey and Dame Judi Dench (courtesy of Getty Images)

Kevin Spacey and Dame Judi Dench (courtesy of Getty Images)

It was a dazzling night for The Luxury Channel, when we made our way to the stunning surroundings of London’s Royal Opera House, where Kevin Spacey stole our hearts and the show at the Oliviers (known as the theatre Oscars). He surprised all the audience present by launching into an unannounced performance of Bridge Over Troubled Water, performing a duet with singer Beverly Knight, backed by a full orchestra. Spacey, who last won the best actor Olivier in 1999, picked up a very special award for his outstanding contribution to the Old Vic theatre, where he has been artistic director since 2004. He steps down from the role at the end of this year, with Matthew Warchus taking his place.

Kevin Spacey and Beverley Knight (courtesy of ITV)

Kevin Spacey and Beverley Knight (courtesy of ITV)

Spacey himself said “I love the theatre more than I can begin to express to you.” He also got a wonderful compliment from the legendary Judi Dench who said of the acclaimed House of Cards actor as she presented the award to him, “He took the Vic on for 10 years….he stuck at it and made it the most enormous success.”

Dame Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey (courtesy of Getty Images)

Dame Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey (courtesy of Getty Images)

Beloved actress Angela Lansbury, who followed in the footsteps of her mother, Moyna Macgill (who made her debut on the same stage almost a century ago), was one of the lucky stars to also pick up an award. The veteran star said her win left her feeling like “a million dollars.” Her role in Blithe Spirit saw her return to London’s West End for the first time in 40 years.

Angela Lansbury (courtesy of Getty Images)

Angela Lansbury (courtesy of Getty Images)

The event, which attracted some of the biggest names in Theatreland, also saw Mark Strong named best actor for his performance in A View From The Bridge, while Downton Abbey‘s Penelope Wilton won best actress. Her performance as a mother whose lawyer son was imprisoned by the Nazis in Taken At Midnight saw her triumph over stars including Gillian Anderson and Kristin Scott Thomas.

For more information, please visit www.olivierawards.com.

The 2015 Olivier Award Winners

Best Actor – Mark Strong for A View From The Bridge at Young Vic and Wyndham’s Theatre
Best Actress – Penelope Wilton for Taken At Midnight at Theatre Royal Haymarket
Best RevivalA View From The Bridge at Young Vic and Wyndham’s Theatre
Best Director – Ivo Van Hove for A View From The Bridge at the Young Vic and Wyndham’s Theatre
Best New PlayKing Charles III at Almeida Theatre and Wyndham’s Theatre
Best Actor In A Supporting Role – Nathaniel Parker for Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies at Aldwych Theatre
Best Actress In A Supporting Role – Angela Lansbury for Blithe Spirit at Gielgud Theatre
Best Actor In A Musical – John Dagleish for Sunny Afternoon at Hampstead Theatre and Harold Pinter Theatre
Best Actress In A Musical – Katie Brayben for Beautiful – The Carole King Musical at Aldwych Theatre
Best New MusicalSunny Afternoon at Hampstead Theatre and Harold Pinter Theatre
Outstanding Achievement In Music – Ray Davies for Sunny Afternoon at Hampstead Theatre and Harold Pinter Theatre
Best Actor In A Supporting Role In A Musical – George Maguire for Sunny Afternoon at Hampstead Theatre and Harold Pinter Theatre
Best Actress In A Supporting Role In A Musical – Lorna Want for Beautiful – The Carole King Musical at Aldwych Theatre
This Morning Audience AwardWicked at Apollo Victoria Theatre
Best New ComedyThe Play That Goes Wrong at Duchess Theatre
Best Musical RevivalCity of Angels at Donmar Warehouse
Best Lighting Design – Howard Harrison for City of Angels at Donmar Warehouse
Best Sound Design – Gareth Owen for Memphis The Musical at Shaftesbury Theatre
Best EntertainmentLa Soirée at La Soirée Spiegeltent
Best Costume Design – Christopher Oram for Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies at Aldwych Theatre
Best Set Design – Es Devlin for The Nether at Duke of York’s Theatre
Best New Dance Production32 Rue Vandenbranden by Peeping Tom at Barbican and Mats Ek’s Juliet And Romeo by Royal Swedish Ballet at Sadler’s Wells
Outstanding Achievement In Dance – Crystal Pite for her choreography in the productions of The Associates – A Picture of You Falling, The Tempest Replica and Polaris at Sadler’s Wells
Best New Opera ProductionThe Mastersingers of Nuremberg at London Coliseum
Outstanding Achievement In Opera – Richard Jones for his direction of The Girl of The Golden West, The Mastersingers of Nuremberg and Rodelinda at London Coliseum
Outstanding Achievement In An Affiliate TheatreBull at The Maria at the Young Vic
Best Theatre Choreographer – Sergio Trujillo for Memphis The Musical at Shaftesbury Theatre
Special Awards – Kevin Spacey and Sylvie Guillem

A Picture Says A Thousand Words By The Luxury Channel

Whether you take photographs for commercial reasons or just as a hobby to savour a moment in time or place, photographs are an important – and in many cases, precious – means of communication. We bring you our round-up of the photography exhibitions to point your camera at….

Salt & Silver – Early Photography (25th Feb – 7th June)

This is the first exhibition in Britain devoted to salted paper prints, one of the earliest forms of photography. A uniquely British invention, unveiled by William Henry Fox Talbot in 1839, salt prints spread across the globe, creating a new visual language of the modern moment. The few salt prints that survive are seldom seen due to their fragility, and so this exhibition is a singular opportunity to see the rarest and best early photographs of this type in the world. For further information, click here.

Salt & Silver

Exhibition Insights by Mayk Azzato (27th Feb – 22nd March)

In-demand fashion photographer and photo artist Mayk Azzato is exhibiting not only portraits but also large-scale cityscapes and a video installation on the subject of motion, at KARE Kraftwerk in Munich. As well as being able to get up close to the photographer’s work, collectors can also purchase unique originals by the photo artist. For further information, click here.

Photographer Mayk Azzato (image courtesy of Gisela Schober and Getty Images for KARE Kraftwerk)

Photographer Mayk Azzato (image courtesy of Gisela Schober and Getty Images for KARE Kraftwerk)

The Beasts of The Earth And The Spirit of Man (7th March – 18th April)

Acclaimed wildlife photographer David Yarrow’s work will feature in The Beasts of The Earth And The Spirit of Man exhibition in Holden Luntz Gallery in Florida. Yarrow’s pursuit of close and active encounters with the natural world has sent him to some of the most remote locations on the planet. By leaving familiar surroundings and traveling to seldom-visited and inhabited settings, he ties humanity closer to nature by providing a perspective on the larger world outside of our cities. For further information, click here.

Mankind

Masterpieces of Fashion Photography (25th – 29th March)

Fine art photography gallery LUMAS will be hosting an exclusive showcase of limited editions of iconic works by the foremost fashion photographers of the twenty first century, introducing previously unreleased masterpieces to the public. For further information, click here.

Kate At The Launderette by Arthur Elgort, Red Parasol by Louise Dahl-Wolfe and Kate Shopping by Arthur Elgort (images courtesy of Vogue Archive Collection and LUMAS)

Kate At The Launderette by Arthur Elgort, Red Parasol by Louise Dahl-Wolfe and Kate Shopping by Arthur Elgort (images courtesy of Vogue Archive Collection and LUMAS)

20/21 Photographs (31st March)

With over 140 lots, the 20/21 Photographs sale by Christie’s in New York is comprised of an extensive selection of classic works by artists such as Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston, Richard Avedon and William Eggleston, among others. Leading the sale is Alfred Stieglitz’s Georgia O’Keeffe, 1918. Relatively early in their relationship, Stieglitz made the stunning image, printed in platinum. The present lot is the only known print of this image to come to market from the estate of Georgia O’Keeffe. For further information, click here.

Georgia O'Keeffe, 1918, by Alfred Stieglitz

Georgia O’Keeffe, 1918, by Alfred Stieglitz

Sony World Photography Awards (24th April – 10th May)

Recognising and rewarding the world’s best contemporary photography from the last year, the 2015 Sony World Photography competition received the highest number of entries in its eight year history – 173,444 images from 171 countries – and a 24% increase on 2014. The shortlisted images will be on show at Somerset House following the announcement of the winners on 23rd April. For further information, click here.

Harfian Herdi, Indonesia - Shortlisted in Nature & Wildlife Open Competition at 2015 Sony World Photography Awards

Harfian Herdi, Indonesia – Shortlisted in Nature & Wildlife Open Competition at 2015 Sony World Photography Awards

Photo London (21st – 24th May)

Taking place at Somerset House, Photo London is a major international photography event, featuring 70 of the world’s leading photography galleries, showcasing both emerging talent and the broad range of photographic practice (from vintage to contemporary). For further information, click here.

Barbara Streisand In The Bathtub, Los Angeles, 1974 by Steve Schiapiro (image courtesy of Photo London)

Barbara Streisand In The Bathtub, Los Angeles, 1974 by Steve Schiapiro (image courtesy of Photo London)

The View From Here – Current Perspectives on Photography (22nd May – 27th June)

Tiwani Contemporary will be presenting The View From Here, an exhibition that presents works by seven emerging international artists from Africa and the diaspora, many of whom will be showcasing in London for the first time. The exhibition is a showcase of the diversity of attitudes towards the camera, and the tensions between memory and the present are explored against the backdrop of shifting identity in the face of both globalisation and social instability. For further information, click here.

Mimi Cherono Ng'ok, Dakar #1, 2014

Mimi Cherono Ng’ok, Dakar #1, 2014

Horst: Photographer of Style On Tour (2015 – 2016)

The V&A Museum’s recent Horst: Photographer of Style exhibition in London presented a definitive retrospective of the work of the 20th century’s master photographers, Horst P. Horst. Renowned for his glamourous fashion and Hollywood images, he was also a portrayer of the male body and exponent of photographic art. The exhibition is on tour this year and next. For further information, click here.

Portrait of model Muriel Maxwell putting on lipstick by Horst P. Horst for American Vogue, 1939

Portrait of model Muriel Maxwell putting on lipstick by Horst P. Horst for American Vogue, 1939

Ghurka USA

Looking to ensure your lens looks the part whilst you document daily life? Ghurka USA’s khaki twill camera strap is the ideal accessory to use if you really want to get in touch with your inner snapper. Buy online here.

Ghurka Camera Strap

The Geneva Motor Show 2015 By Rob Scorah

Geneva Motor Show

The Geneva Salon has always been the show of the art house exotic, the technologically sensual. Yet it is usually able to offer a real-world manifestation of those qualities. Jaguar’s E-type was unveiled there in 1961 and Lamborghini’s Miura in ’66. This year’s show certainly has its share of ultra, ultra hi-tech speed, power and luxury, all of course deftly balanced or – more pointedly – offset by low carbon footprint technology. All to keep a rapaciously consumerist and self-centred industry at least looking environmentally-friendly.

Ferrari

It’s hard to know where to start first with all the power and the glory, but Ferrari is certainly as good a place as any. Its 488 GTB supersedes the 458. Lithe lines, deep scoops and knife-edged, multi-facetted surfaces – check. 200mph-plus top speed and 0-124mph in 8.3 seconds – check. Otherworldliness made manifest and very much relevant and attainable.

Aston Martin Vulcan

Staying much on the more extreme side of ‘‘out there’’ were Mercedes’ 6.2-litre AMG GT3 racer (they say there will be a road version) and Aston Martin’s Vulcan (seven-litre V12). The 24-build run of the latter will be track-only use. Both, of course, create a suitable halo of marvelousness and ultra-performance for their comparatively more mundane brand stable mates.

Mercedes AMG

As an aside – thinking of the Mercedes – for those in the know, Geneva saw an indulgence in racing styling references and sub-texts; significators that gave a nod to past racing glories. The AMG’s grill, lights and domed cockpit were a throwback to the Carrera Panamericana-winning 300 SL of 1952.

Bentley

Bentley, meanwhile, had a white number six on the grill of its muscular Speed Six concept – reminding us of its thundering Twenties and Thirties Le Mans winners. Good old-fashioned grunt. Ford was more graphic. They simply stuck their new GT next to the old GT40 to compare the style cues alluding to the Sixties icon. The rear flying buttresses and vented nose look just as apt on the new car, though that one is, of course, built in carbon fibre and sports some 600bhp. Price of the few made will be around £300,000.

Ford

Geneva, probably like any show at the moment, is highlighting how manufacturers – as well as buyers – are caught between some very strong cross-currents, the direction and destination of which few are very sure.

Quant

As harbingers of a radically different motoring world stand developers like Quant with its two concept models. Both are compact with liquid-like curves. They’re impressively quick. Their ‘‘flow-cell’’ electric power makes for zero emissions. All you need to do is charge the twin tanks with 175 litres – each – of oppositely-charged ironic liquid and you’re good to go for some 1000km.

Quant Quantino

Diametrically opposed is probably the two-saloon-cars-long Mercedes Maybach Pullman 600. The ‘‘Pullman’’ name evokes memories of the angular (and usually bullet-proof) Mercedes 600 limousine, once favoured by dictators the world/Southern Hemisphere over. The 523bhp V12 Baroque behemoth is sumptuously appointed.

Mercedes

Caught somewhere in the middle are quite a few marques conscious of strong competition and wanting to ‘‘extend the brand.’’ That usually means a half-electric, four-wheel drive, five-seating hatch-backed version of something that was once fast and singular of purpose. Porsche brought us the Cayenne (okay, no electric bits) and Bentley is about to foist an SUV on us in 2016.

Andy Palmer

Aston has decided to rely less on crusty, pin-striped gents for its income and is going after ‘‘rich/cool/attractive/American/thirty-something ladies.’’ Though we’re not told if the DBX concept it just unveiled at Geneva is aimed at them. The DBX has some exciting technologies and gadgets (no – don’t utter the name James Bond), and the sculptured interior is breathtaking.

Aston Martin DBX

Aston aside, there seems to be an ever-increasing raft of niche/boutique vehicles with an often mutually exclusive set of watered-down abilities and features that does little more than thrust the manufacturer’s badge – at shoulder level – at consumers.

Porsche Cayman

But one car seemed – to me – to cut through all the BS. It is singular of purpose, yet practical enough to be a constant motoring companion. It is somehow one-pointed and broad in its abilities. Its performance is at once sufficient and still awesome. It is conventional yet progressive in its technology. And it looks sexy as hell. Porsche….(no, this does not mean you’re forgiven for the Cayenne)….your new 183mph, 0-62mph in 4.4seconds, £62,800 Cayman GT4 is beautiful.

Why Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend By The Luxury Channel

Lily James in De Beers jewellery at the world premiere of Cinderella (courtesy of Getty Images)

Lily James in De Beers jewellery at the world premiere of Cinderella (courtesy of Getty Images)

We all know that diamonds are a girl’s best friend – but it seems they are also an investor’s best friend too. With the 87th Academy Awards around the corner, all eyes will not only be on the hopeful winners but also on the fashion and jewellery worn on the red carpet. We look at the latest trends in the global diamond market to discover why these precious jewels are such hot property….

Diamonds – The Facts

An estimated US $13 billion worth of rough diamonds are produced per year, of which approximately US $8.5 billion come from Africa. Global diamond jewellery sales continue to grow, increasing three-fold in the past 25 years, and are currently worth in excess of US $72 billion every year.

Worldwide diamond consumption is forecast to surge by as much as 60% by the end of this decade, according to consultant Bain & Co. Demand for diamonds will be bolstered by growing affluence in India and China. Sales of the most expensive diamonds are hard to track, but experts say demand is on the rise at the top end of the market, too.

Diamond

Vickie Sek, director of the Asia Jewellery & Jadeite Department at auction house Christie’s, says that “investors and collectors are looking for creative alternatives where they can store cash and remain portable. For this reason, diamonds and coloured gemstones have become alternative asset investments.”

But as much as they love their diamonds, UHNW individuals are picky about their jewels.

“For UHNW buyers, quality reigns supreme. The most in-demand stones are large ones of top colour and clarity worth between US $5 million and US $10 million. For colourless diamonds, a DIF grading – the best in colour and clarity – is naturally prized, but stones of E or F colour and VVS clarity are also highly sought after,” says Sek. “For coloured diamonds, pinks and blues are the most desirable. UHNW buyers are looking for a colour grading of Fancy Intense or above.”

Coloured Diamonds

In fact, Mining Weekly reported this week that the coloured gemstone sector has been growing at a compound yearly rate of about 18%, according to the United Nations commodity trade statistics database, with rough global imports for emeralds, rubies and sapphires currently amounting to about $3.3 billion a year.

So the long-term outlook for diamonds is positive and the world’s largest diamond producers are confident that the next few years will see a return to robust demand growth. It’s time to make a sparkling investment!

Diamonds – Top Five Tips

So, how to keep your jewels looking their best? Raphael Ringer, founder of Jardin de Diamants, unveils a few gems:

1. Use soap and a toothbrush: once every two to three months, you can clean the diamond yourself in a few minutes using a soft soap and a toothbrush. The toothbrush allows you to access small and inaccessible spots of the jewellery piece. Rinse it with clean water and dry it with a soft cloth – it works surprisingly well.

2. Check the setting of your piece once a year: over time, the setting can loosen up and the stone is likely to move. It is highly recommended to revert to a trusted jeweller to make sure the diamond sits firm on the setting to avoid losing a stone. At the same time, the jeweller will also clean the diamond and polish the gold or platinum.

Avakian diamond and pear shape emerald earrings

Avakian diamond and pear shape emerald earrings

3. Careful with your clothes: wool, cashmere, fur and other lint clothes can get trapped into a sharp diamond setting. Put on your jacket or jumper first, and then your jewellery.

4. Don’t use abrasive or oily products: although those products won’t alter the diamond itself, they can erode some of the metals often used in diamond settings.

5. Day-to-day: keep your diamond and gemstones in separate jewel boxes to prevent scratching. Take off your jewellery when you undertake heavy tasks such as gardening or home renovation, as the diamond might accumulate residues and impurities. But regardless of the size or the price of your diamond, your stone deserves high luxury attention that mirrors the emotional value of it.

Chinese New Year – A Global Affair For Luxury By K magazine

Chinese New Year red lanterns (image courtesy of CNN)

Chinese New Year red lanterns (image courtesy of CNN)

One of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world, Chinese New Year has established itself as more than just a day – it’s become a booming season. As Chinese customers have become crucial to global luxury consumption, what will the Year of the Goat mean to them and to local and international brands? K magazine explores….

Characterised by wild imagination and forward momentum, the Year of the Horse is skidding to a halt. It’s that time of year again – magnificent fireworks, thrilling dragon dances, and Chinese dumplings, or jiaozi, steaming up for another New Year. Luxury brands are targeting Chinese alpha consumers with every ounce of force: ram embroidered tote bags, Mandarin-speaking staff, and gift certificates delivered as red money envelopes or hong bao.

With the advent of Chinese New Year abroad, it’s sometimes hard to remember that this holiday has deep roots on the mainland. Similar to Western astrology, Chinese tradition asserts that a person’s characteristics are directly influenced by their lunar birth year’s animal sign and element.

Each of the 12 shengxiao, or zodiac signs (rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, pig), which rotates in as many years, is associated with one of the five Chinese elements, or wuxing. From 19th February 2015, the legacy and narrative of the goat will mark the coming twelve months.

Chinese Zodiac Calendar

Chinese Zodiac Calendar

Even for the non-traditionalists, one’s zodiac year may warrant subtle superstitious inklings – for example, the wearing of red bracelets or underwear for good luck.

Perhaps after the demanding pace of the Year of the Horse, 2015 will give way to the
more easy-going nature of the goat. Despite a gentle demeanour, goats are considered tough with strong, inner resilience and excellent defensive instincts. With no need to be the centre of attention, goats prefer to be in groups, but they are intelligent on their own. People born in the Year of the Goat are often creative – idea generators – and empathetic decision-makers.

Chinese consumers embody an individual curiosity and pursuit for satisfaction, coupled with an unprecedented power in numbers. When all this can be ignited and engaged, consumer loyalty and brand advocacy can further transform the market.

Brands want to build credibility with Chinese consumers, and anyone else who is just curious or already loves Chinese culture. In fact, 18th February will mark the eve of Chinese New Year and the first time China Central Television will make rights available to foreign broadcasters for the annual Spring Festival Gala. With the number of viewers last year reaching over 700 million, the world’s longest-running and most-watched variety show will provide global brands with a context for their marketing initiatives.

CCTV Spring Festival Gala 2014 (image courtesy of CCTV)

CCTV Spring Festival Gala 2014 (image courtesy of CCTV)

China’s push towards a “new normal” is prompting insiders and onlookers alike to speculate what the future focus on consumption, services and innovation will look like. Despite the domestic economic slowdown, Chinese consumers have become pivotal to global luxury consumption. Over 70% of all luxury goods purchased by Chinese consumers are purchased outside of the mainland.

It’s no surprise, then, that Chinese New Year has been adopted by global brands as a requisite platform to speak to a global audience.

Yet an interesting dichotomy has emerged amongst the younger Chinese generations in both China and abroad. Although reuniting with the family remains paramount to the New Year, many young people are finding other facets of the holiday outdated.

A big bite

Apple has recently emerged as the top luxury brand for gifting, according to the Hurun Research Institute. The company has seemingly merged the importance of cultural antiquity (to appease older generations) with what’s modern and cool (to feed the curiosity of the young).

Take, for example, its New Year marketing campaign “Start A New Chapter,” kaiqi yifen xinyi 开启一分新意。 A young girl uses her technological savvy to reinvigorate her grandmother’s old music – and memories. The message is powerful because it is “localised” and put into a familiar context for Chinese consumers.

Apple Ad

Luxury brands can create value by engaging consumers to want to relate to, and identify with, their products, thereby transcending mere consumption by also boasting a special culture. In other words, savvy brands can develop more than just consumers, but brand advocates. It’s this kind of group advocacy that brands are seeking to develop for both the domestic and international Chinese consumer base, and one that appreciates storytelling.

In turn, Chinese consumers are asking more from the market, wanting to know why and how. They want a story and an ethos to attach themselves to. Companies that strive for congruency between their brand and their products allow consumers to relate; and consumers can pick and choose pieces to create their own identity.

Advocates who are most willing to align their lifestyle with brands have become a creative source of inspiration for brands, which are often directly engaging followers via social media. It’s within the group of brand advocates that leaders form; often with a sense of responsibility they are incapable of ignoring. Hence the developing marketplace for luxury brands that embody purpose, history and timeless facets of culture.

Chinese Red Lanterns (image courtesy of CNN)

Chinese Red Lanterns (image courtesy of CNN)

The third way

Grace Chen, a leading couturier based in Beijing and Shanghai, addresses her on-going challenge to craft products for her Chinese audience. Her clients are celebrities and high-calibre businesswomen who don’t have the time to shop overseas, so she designs in a Chinese style with a global view.

“There are two perspectives when looking at Chinese culture – from the Chinese themselves and one from foreigners,” she says. “I’m looking at this in a third way. If you look at [some luxury brands], they use Chinese influence in their clothes, but you feel like it’s some kind of decoration or exotic embellishment. But domestic Chinese designers, we emphasise carrying on a tradition….it’s a big responsibility.”

Consider New York-based trend forecasting group, K-Hole’s term Normcore and what it means for individual identity. It’s a word that encourages adaptability, non-linear personal style and even interplays with the possibility of misinterpretation as “an opportunity for connection — not as a threat to authenticity.”

Chinese New Year (image courtesy of CNN)

Chinese New Year (image courtesy of CNN)

China’s landscape naturally attracts this kind of mind-set, particularly in the quest for personal style. But does this more individual pursuit of the authentic “self” through fashion and lifestyle clash with the big brand campaigns to grasp and sell “Chinese-ness?”

It’s possible that the market will be drastically transformed by a more organic sense of luxury; one that boasts Chinese characteristics as an honoured responsibility, rather than accepting “Chinese-ness” as embellishment.

If characteristics of the goat ring true, perhaps this year will reveal a new trend, one that encourages collective advocacy among consumers and authenticity within luxury brands.

For further information about Kering, visit www.kering.com.

From Damien Hirst To Roberto Cavalli – Trend Report From Maison&Objet By Camilla Hellman

Maison&Objet

Think Paris, think design, think innovation….Maison&Objet Spring Fair remains one of the most influential and important markets for stores and designers worldwide to attend. The fair celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and The Luxury Channel was there to report on what we think is new, inspiring and trending. In the lead up to this year’s fair, Oki Sato of Nendo was named Maison&Objet’s Designer of the Year. Oki has worked with so many leading brands – from Baccarat to Tods to Toshiba, so we were looking forward to visiting his “Chocolate Texture Lounge.” We weren’t disappointed, either!

ChocolatTexture

The big colour trend this year is grey and dusky pink, with touches of purple. These are the colours that will feature in our homes, and they were used on sofas, in carpets and even for candles.

Missoni Home

These colour tones were also showcased by Missoni Home, who offered a wide range in their unique style, as well as by Roberto Cavalli Home. From the furniture fabrics of Moissonnier to the fine linens of Qualiotti Italy, and even the handmade beds by Schramm, dusky pink and grey were definitely the leading colours to note.

Roberto Cavalli Home

Moissonnier was founded in 1885 and today, through its outstanding craftsmen, creates cabinetry which is a true work of art. From Moissonnier, one has the classic but from Rue Monsieur, one sees the art of craftsmanship move forward with the stunning use of marble marquetry. Launched in 2013, designer Marjan Denkov and his business partner Marcin Kokowsk displayed a stand that was one of the most interesting at the show. Their craftsmanship and ideas bring a real freshness to classic furniture-making.

Squint

Meanwhile, British eccentricity was spotlighted by Squint, who offer great design and one-of-a-kind furniture pieces and home accessories that are joyfully exuberant in their style. Made in London, Lisa Whatmough has brought her passion for textiles and married it with a very British design sensibility to create a truly refreshing range of furniture.

Squint

Designer Rory Dobner continues to go from strength to strength. At 36 years old, he has already created a unique and distinct brand since being awarded the Burns Young Artist of the Year Award back in 1998.

Rory Dobner

His wondrous world of English eccentricity will ensure your house is whimsical, with a range that spans from pillows to plates to tiles to rugs – and his cat designs in particular are just wonderful and worth keeping in mind when it comes to re-decorating your home.

Melina Light

Another brand making big waves is Melina Light, launched in Dubai this past November and exhibiting for the first time. The range of lighting is simply stunning. Created by architect Giacinto De Nardo, the range offers the perfect pantone to match your furnishings with your light fittings. De Nardo is very up-and-coming with no “standard” range. With a website currently under construction and several projects in the pipeline, these are exciting times for De Nardo. Watch this space!

Damien Hirst For Lalique

Finally, Damien Hirst’s limited edition series of butterflies for Lalique was unveiled at Maison&Objet. The world-renowned crystal company has collaborated with the artist to produce Love, Hope and Beauty – limited edition crystal panels that each depict a different butterfly, which can then be displayed in numerous ways. The butterfly is one of Hirst’s most recognisable motifs, featured repeatedly in his work. Talking about the collaboration, Hirst explained that he has “always loved crystal and it’s both beautiful and difficult to work with, so I’m really excited about the project. It’s amazing being able to use all the expert craftsmanship and incredible history of Lalique for something new, and the results are beyond all my expectations.” We love the ephemeral beauty of the butterflies – so it’s time for a home makeover!

For more information, go to www.maison-objet.com.

Chinese Whispers By Nicholas Gormanston

Coca Cola

Chinese Whispers, the new exhibition at the Fine Art Society Gallery in Bond Street by artists Rob and Nick Carter, is a series of playful takes on a number of familiar works by Andy Warhol. At the show’s opening night, Nick Carter told me they had selected the Warhol images and then sent them off to a number of different factories in China, where normally the lines of artists are involved in mass-producing perfect copies of world-famous paintings. They were given instructions for each to make a facsimile ink drawing of a Warhol, and then pass it on to the next factory artist. The Carters added the requirement that each copy artist should make one tiny, subtle alteration to the drawing they’ve received, before they pass it along the chain to the next one….so it’s literally played out as it is in the children’s game, where the end result is starkly different from the original concept. The thirty completed drawings in each of the series in this exhibition are shown in sequence placed in a single, large frame.

Playboy Bunny

The “Playboy Bunny” is a selection from 30 drawings of the instantly recognisable trademark Playboy logo. Warhol’s New York studio was called The Factory, where the former advertising designer, and his assistants, produced his tongue-in-cheek perception of the banal images of what were the mass consumer brands in America in the 1950s – the Carters here apply a dash of British irony to the mix by sending Warhol’s work to be interpreted by copy artists in mass production factories. When the thirtieth version has emerged from a Chinese factory, the image is so greatly changed from the original that the Bunny ears resemble those artfully-shaped napkins placed on tables at a top restaurant. The most ambitious of the series involves 50 ink drawings taken from Warhol’s version of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper. At first recognisable and representational, when you get forty-nine versions on you are looking at what is like an abstract version of the original.

Campbells Soup Can

I think the work of this creative duo is worth collecting. I should have bought one from Postcards from Vegas, their show I saw at the same gallery in 2011. One that stood out for me in particular was a blown-up reproduction of an old postcard of Neuschwanstein, mad King Ludwig of Bavaria’s massive castle, which “Uncle Walt” Disney used in his first Disneyland as the model for Sleeping Beauty’s castle, with its pointy turrets and snow-capped mountain peaks. In their work, Rob and Nick Carter juxtaposed the Alpine sentimentality of Disney’s castle with the functioning neon sign that they attached to it, adapted from an old American one with the message: “Pioneer Pawn, 24 Hours.”

Five Dollar Bill

There is also the Carters’ digital rendering of Sleeping Venus, the beautiful, erotic nude painted by the Venetian artist Giorgione in 1510. They’ve made real-time video footage of a model called Ivory Flame – a name Andy Warhol would’ve liked – asleep, and blended it with computer-generated animation, so we are presented with Venus who sleeps on while the Venetian landscape around her transforms from day to night. Very slowly, over two and a half hours, she breathes, occasionally shifts her position, a foot twitches or a hand stirs. You cannot own the real Giorgione, but you could buy a contemporary digital version….

Further Information

Rob and Nick Carter’s Chinese Whispers exhibition runs until 29th January at:
The Fine Art Society Gallery
148 New Bond Street
London W18 2JT

Fortnum & Mason At Somerset House By Caroline Phillips

Christmas Tree

If ‘Skate at Somerset House’ doesn’t get you in the mood for Christmas, then nothing will. For over a decade now, the 900-metre-square outdoor rink, set in the grand 18th century neoclassical courtyard, has provided London’s most picturesque setting for ice-skating (“London’s favourite ice-rink,” according to one paper. And “the coolest rink of all,” in the words of another). In what has become an annual tradition for me, I went down to Somerset House this week, once more to brave the ice – not to mention the countless couples in their first throes of love!

Skate

This year’s event is sponsored by Fortnum & Mason (another grand 18th century institution), and it was the extras that they had put on that made this year’s event such a treat. They hadn’t turned the ice eau-de-nil (their trademark colour) – but every other detail was beautiful. After I had finished skating under the 12 metre Christmas tree (adorned with Fortnum’s classic hampers), I headed for the Christmas Arcade. The pop-up store is situated in Somerset House’s elegant West Wing rooms and overlooking the ice rink. It has 15 rooms of Fortnum’s goodies, including their perennially popular Christmas hampers (think spicy Christmas pud to sparkling shortbread), gifts (truffles, candles, necklaces) and decorations (who else but the witty Misters F&M would think up a London taxi Christmas tree ornament or fill-your-own bauble?).

Fortnum & Mason

Frankly too exhausted to shop with any great commitment after my heroics on the ice rink, I headed next door to The Lodge, where I settled down to a bite to eat (quaffing the store’s famous Welsh Rarebit, followed by cream tea, truffles, fondue and champagne, since you ask; it is Christmas, after all and I stayed for a long time) and then topped it off with a ridiculously good Fortnum’s tipsy Hot Chocolate (they offer rare teas too and had I stayed a bit longer, who knows?). Forget après ski, this is après skate par excellence.

Hot Chocolate

It was a wonderful afternoon and I’d encourage anyone who’s yet to catch the Christmas bug to head down there. Skate is open until 10th January. If you don’t fancy skating, then access to the Arcade and The Lodge is free.

Further Information

Top Tip: Every Tuesday is Glad Tidings Tuesday at Skate, where there’s late night shopping, live music, events and tastings.
To Book: Go to www.somersethouse.org.uk/ice-rink.
Fortnum & Mason: Opening hours for the Christmas Arcade store can be found here.

Caroline Phillips is an award-winning freelance journalist who contributes to publications from Sunday and daily newspapers to glossy magazines and various luxury websites. To see more of her work, go to www.carolinephillips.net.

Tennis Tweed At Andy Murray’s Hotel By The Luxury Channel

Judy Murray

Tennis coach and Strictly Come Dancing star Judy Murray has worked with Harris Tweed Hebrides to produce a bespoke Harris Tweed for her son Andy’s Perthshire hotel, Cromlix. The new Harris Tweed (inspired by the famous Wimbledon colours purple and green) has been used by three renowned Scottish-based designers – Catherine Aitken, Gráinne Broderick and Katherine Emtage – to craft a contemporary accessory gift range which will be available to purchase at the hotel. Called the Cromlix Collection, the range includes a clutch bag and a handbag as well as an iPad cover and Harris Tweed cufflinks set in sterling silver. In addition to the accessories range, a number of one-off items were also fashioned to showcase the beautiful fabric, including a jacket for Judy in the new Harris Tweed by Perth-based Blues & Browns. Judy revealed that she “wanted to develop something unique for Andy’s hotel which would reflect Cromlix’s heritage and also showcase the fantastic textiles and craftsmanship that Scotland has to offer.”

Judy Murray

The new tweed premiered on the red carpet at the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Awards, with Judy wearing a Wild Stole with Luxury Coquille Feathers, Wrap Belt and one of the new Kate Clutch Bags – all expertly made by Edinburgh-based designer Catherine Aitken. Instrumental in the development of the new range, Catherine said: “This is a beautiful Harris Tweed to work with, boasting rich and striking colours. It’s very exciting to be working with Judy and it was so exhilarating watching my creations modelled so eloquently on the red carpet to such positive acclaim.”

Judy Murray

Speaking of the collaboration, Ian A Mackenzie, chief executive, Harris Tweed Hebrides, said: “The popularity of Harris Tweed continues to soar across the globe. It is very fitting that such a historic Scottish destination has its own bespoke Harris Tweed design. Cromlix is the embodiment of luxury, as is Harris Tweed, and we have no doubt the new collection will become as coveted as other exclusive Harris Tweed ranges.”

For more information, visit www.cromlix.com.

Maddalena Ischiale – How Angelina Jolie Found Her Mama By Hannah Norman

A dreary London evening is surely a world away from sunshine of the Hollywood hills, but if the light is going to shine anywhere, then along the red carpet is usually a pretty safe bet. In London, the carpet was awash with stars for the premiere of Angelina Jolie’s latest role as director of the movie Unbroken. It was her second directorial role following 2011’s In The Land of Blood And Honey.

Angelina Jolie at the UK premiere (image courtesy of Ralph & Russo and Getty Images.  Photo credit - Anthony Harvey)

Angelina Jolie at the UK premiere (image courtesy of Ralph & Russo and Getty Images. Photo credit – Anthony Harvey)

Whilst the charismatic actress/director invariably attracts attention wherever she goes, it was in fact her film’s Italian leading lady who was also turning heads. Largely unknown (until now), Maddalena Ischiale was a revelation in red, but it’s her on-screen portrayal as protagonist Louis Zamperini’s mother that has been garnering much acclaim. I meet her the day after the premiere in a coffee shop in Hampstead Heath, to talk about her role in the film and her relationship with its superstar director.

Maddalena Ischiale at the UK premiere  (image courtesy of Zibi / WENN)

Maddalena Ischiale at the UK premiere
(image courtesy of Zibi / WENN)

“As an [Italian actress], I had this crazy idea to go to America because I love the movies, I love the way they work. I love Italy, but I never really found my place there” she says. Los Angeles, however, didn’t reap the overnight rewards she had been expecting. “I wanted to give up so many times,” she confesses. “I spent three years thinking, ‘what am I doing?!’” She relates her determination to Louis Zamperini, the former Olympian sent to a Japanese POW camp whose story the film is based upon. “He was a really strong person. I love his quote, ‘I always finish the race.’ I believe that is what I have to do. But I have these two role models now. On one side, I have Louis Zamperini, who lived an incredible life, and I play the mother who gave birth to him, the origin of that life [and] who gave him his strength. Then I have Angelina Jolie, who is a brilliant role model. How can I give up?”

This determination to succeed has surely paid off and Ischiale’s casting in the film is almost something of a Hollywood tale in itself. After receiving a breakdown of the film from a friend, she was immediately drawn to the character of Louis’ mother, Louise. “I loved this character!” she enthuses. “The character sold me. I was so drawn to the story of an American hero with Italian origins and the character of the mother, that I knew somehow I had to get a part in it.” Although that in itself wasn’t so straightforward. “Getting the audition was the hard part,” Ischiale reveals.

Maddalena Ischiale in Unbroken (image courtesy of Universal Pictures)

Maddalena Ischiale in Unbroken (image courtesy of Universal Pictures)

“I didn’t have an agent, so what I did, I called Sony, I called one of the biggest casting directors in America and was like, ‘hi, I’m Maddalena! I’m Italian and how can I pitch myself for the role, because I don’t have an agent but I think I can help you guys.’” One phone call later saw her sending over some head shots and a video reel that happened to include Ischiale playing the part of the perfect Italian mother. So perfect, as it happens, that it landed her the audition that would change her life, with the resulting tape sent straight to Ms. Jolie herself. “[Angelina] told me that after she saw my tape, she started screaming, ‘I found her! I found Mama!’ So that was good,” Ischiale tells me. “But she cast me because I am curvaceous, because I had the accent, and because I am very direct and authentic, so [I could] bring real humanity into that character.”

I ask her what was it like working with one of Hollywood’s most famed actresses. “You want to work with great directors and great human beings, and Angie is an amazing human being,” Ischiale tells me. “She doesn’t compromise. Being such a great actor, she knows how to talk with actors, she knows how to relate to them. In my experience, she let me be completely free. I naturally went on set and she was like, ‘okay, here is your space, let’s see what you’ve got.’ Then she was giving her interpretation, so she’d say, let’s do this scene again completely internal; now let’s do it Italian and super outgoing. Or, now talk like you’re a person who is troubled. Now you have the power; now you don’t have any power. So every take was very different. As an actor, it was a lot of fun. But she knows what she wants and she’s completely supportive. Every day, she would tell me, ‘come and look at yourself here [on screen], it’s amazing; look how beautiful you are!’ How many times do you have Angelina Jolie say, look how beautiful you are?!”

Maddalena Ischiale (image courtesy of Roberta Setzu)

Maddalena Ischiale (image courtesy of Roberta Setzu)

It’s clearly a well-deserved compliment, but Ischiale politely shrugs it off. “I wanted to give this colour to the character for the time that I have on screen,” she says simply. “I worked so hard on every aspect of the character. So it was very meaningful and I hope I did a good job!” It would seem she did, given the attention heaped on her at the moment, with the film’s director leading the charge of compliments. “Angie has that kind of mother quality,” Ishchiale says, “like everyone [on set] becomes her children. She didn’t bring the kids on set, but they were with her. She’s a great mum. It’s so important to her. She had a wonderful relationship with her mother, and she always talks about her mother, like her mother was the most incredible human being.”

That emotional connection was also present during filming, particularly when it came to creating the war camp scenes. “I entered the camp and there was screaming and there were all these kids, and it was like it was real, like you were really there, and I started crying. We cried a lot, me and Angie, we cried a lot,” Ischiale admits. “After a scene, there were moments when she’d say, ‘cut,’ and she’d be coming to me, and she’d have one tissue for her and one tissue for me. We were silent afterwards, everyone was. It was heavy. But you believe it, you think it’s real. But it is real, because somewhere in the world, someone is being tortured.”

Maddalena Ischiale in Unbroken (image courtesy of Universal Pictures)

Maddalena Ischiale in Unbroken (image courtesy of Universal Pictures)

By now, after one strong coffee too many, we’re both on the verge of tears, so the conversation moves on to a far lighter topic, as I ask Ischiale what her favourite luxury is. “Oh my God!” she giggles infectiously. “I love so many things – I’m Italian! I love Gucci, for sure. I could say my Gucci bag, but we’re talking about Unbroken!”

Ischiale is assuredly bright, bubbly and warmly engaging. She had me welling up with emotion one minute and then crying with laughter the next (although that might be the Italian in her, as “we can cry like crazy people but then after, we’re gonna make you laugh with a joke, because that’s how we are.”) Her role in Unbroken is surely only the start of an incredible career in Hollywood. Oh yes, and if nothing else, she’s got killer taste in handbags!

Benedict Cumberbatch Honoured At The British Independent Film Awards By Jayjay Epega

Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley (image courtesy of Dave Bennett, Getty Images)

Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley (image courtesy of Dave Bennett, Getty Images)

The Luxury Channel had access all areas to the 2014 British Independent Film Awards, sponsored by Moët & Chandon, which took place at London’s Old Billingsgate. Benedict Cumberbatch was honoured with the Variety Award, which was given for his great part in helping to “focus the international spotlight on the UK.”

Benedict Cumberbatch (image courtesy of Dave Hogan, Getty Images)

Benedict Cumberbatch (image courtesy of Dave Hogan, Getty Images)

Accepting the Award, Cumberbatch said, “Thank you so much; it’s a very strange experience to be in your own audience. It’s a ridiculous honour to be here, not least because of the output and the standard of previous recipients. I feel this is a very premature way to acknowledge mine, but it will inspire me to work harder to feel like I deserve it, and that won’t really be difficult because I love my job, I love my industry, I love the people I get to work with….and it’s not just the people in this room we should be celebrating, it’s the armies of craftsmen who are the envy of the world and keep the world coming back for more business here….So no matter how lonely or scared or ‘independent’ I feel standing up here, there are legions of people who supported me to a point where I can just get up in the morning and do my job. My home team: my mother and father, and my fiancé Sophie. This belongs to all of you. Making you proud is a wonderful engine to do what I do. Congratulations to everyone here.”

Sophie Hunter and Benedict Cumberbatch (image courtesy of Dave Bennett, Getty Images)

Sophie Hunter and Benedict Cumberbatch (image courtesy of Dave Bennett, Getty Images)

It was also a memorable night for his Sherlock co-star Andrew Scott, who was named best supporting actor, beating off competition from Rafe Spall, Michael Fassbender and Sean Harris, thanks to his performance in British Thatcher-era drama Pride, which also picked up best British film and the best supporting actress gong for Imelda Staunton.

Dame Helen Mirren (image courtesy of Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)

Dame Helen Mirren (image courtesy of Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)

Dame Helen Mirren presented the Best Newcomer Award, and Emma Thompson was honoured with the Richard Harris Award for film contribution. Calvary star Brendan Gleeson beat Cumberbatch to the best actor award, while Gugu Mbatha-Raw was named best actress for her performance in the title role in period drama Belle, ahead of Cumberbatch’s Imitation Game co-star Keira Knightley and Catch Me Daddy‘s Sameena Jabeen Ahmed. Yann Demange took home best director for ’71, the drama about a British solider trapped in Belfast during the Troubles.

Keira Knightley and Emma Thompson (image courtesy of Dave Bennett, Getty Images)

Keira Knightley and Emma Thompson (image courtesy of Dave Bennett, Getty Images)

Attendees took home a tote goody bag filled with (amongst other treats), a bottle of Moët & Chandon Champagne, a box of Willie’s Cacao Venezuelan Gold Chocolate and an exclusive coffee table book of exquisite cinematic images by renowned photographer Rankin.

For more about the British Independent Film Awards, please visit www.bifa.org.uk.

HRH The Duke of Cambridge At The Tusk Conservation Awards By The Luxury Channel

Tusk Award Winner

HRH The Duke of Cambridge attended the 2014 Tusk Conservation Awards at Claridges in London, even lending his name to one of the awards presented that evening. As Royal Patron of Tusk, Prince William presented awards to two leading conservationists for their outstanding work in Africa, and announced his plan to introduce a new award for Rangers. The awards ceremony was hosted by broadcaster Kate Silverton, who is herself a Patron of the charity.

The prestigious Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa, sponsored by Investec Asset Management, was given to Richard Bonham in recognition of his lifetime contribution to wildlife and the Maasai community in Kenya. Richard was recognized by the independent judging panel of experts for his steadfast commitment to the promotion of wildlife conservation in Kenya and mitigation of human wildlife conflict. In addition to the trophy commissioned by Tiffany & Co, Bonham received a grant of £30,000 towards his conservation work. Charlie Mayhew MBE, CEO of Tusk, said, “Richard is one of Africa’s true unsung heroes of conservation. His greatest challenge has been, and remains, to sustain the vast ecosystem of Amboseli and Tsavo in Kenya through a holistic approach – addressing the major threats to the Maasai community and their way of life, the fragile wilderness, and its wildlife. He is the person who changed perceptions in the tourist industry and showed how eco-tourism could meld wildlife conservation with community development in Kenya.”

Land Rover

The Tusk Award for Emerging Leaders in Conservation – an award sponsored by Land Rover – was presented to Herizo Andrianandrasana, from Madagascar. Having witnessed first-hand the huge environmental challenges facing his country, Herizo’s response has been to pioneer the empowerment of local communities to conserve the natural environments they depend on, leading programmes across seven globally important conservation areas, with a combined surface area of 3,500 km2. The Tusk Award and grant of £15,000 recognise his achievements and his leadership of a generation of Africans looking to make a sustainable difference to environmental preservation.

The two other finalists who travelled to London for the awards ceremony were Dr. Amy Dickman of the Ruaha Carnivore Project for her ground-breaking work conserving lions and working with the Barabaig tribe in Tanzania, and Kenyan community conservationist David Kuria, who founded The Kijabe Environment Volunteers, to protect the one of Kenya’s most important forests and water catchment areas. Dickman and Kuria will both receive grants for their projects.

Lion

Closing the ceremony, the Duke said, “The work of this year’s finalists serves to illustrate some of our greatest conservation challenges: dramatic loss of lion; poaching of elephant and rhino; deforestation; and the critical need for community involvement.”

He also took the opportunity to announce a new award for 2015, “which will recognise the extraordinary bravery and commitment of Wildlife Rangers. These are the men and women at the frontline of the battle – and it is a battle – to save some of the world’s most iconic species.”

Continuing a theme that he has voiced in the past, he stressed, “These people cannot face the bullets and the threats alone. It is up to governments and intra-national bodies to unite behind them.”

For more information, please visit www.tusk.org.

Photography Through The Ages By The Luxury Channel

Bert Hardy, Maidens In Waiting, 1951.  (© the artist; courtesy of Beetles+Huxley and Osborne Samuel)

Bert Hardy, Maidens In Waiting, 1951.
(© the artist; courtesy of Beetles+Huxley and Osborne Samuel)

Osborne Samuel has announced a collaborative exhibition with Beetles+Huxley to present the variety and influence of photography through the ages. Running until 23rd December, this major photography exhibition crosses both of these leading London galleries to showcase over 150 important photographs from the 19th century to the present day.

Horst P. Horst, L. Marcuson, New York, 1950.  (© the artist; courtesy of Beetles+Huxley and Osborne Samuel)

Horst P. Horst, L. Marcuson, New York, 1950.
(© the artist; courtesy of Beetles+Huxley and Osborne Samuel)

The exhibition displays a range of arresting and iconic imagery from all periods of this ground-breaking medium, including works by legendary photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson, Horst P Horst, Cecil Beaton, Robert Mapplethorpe, Lord Snowdon, Bill Brandt, Man Ray and Irving Penn, amongst others.

Frank Hurley, Royal Penguins On Nugget's Beach, Macquaire Island, 1911. (© the artist; courtesy of Beetles+Huxley and Osborne Samuel)

Frank Hurley, Royal Penguins On Nugget’s Beach, Macquaire Island, 1911.
(© the artist; courtesy of Beetles+Huxley and Osborne Samuel)

Previously unseen self-portraits by American street photographer Vivian Maier will be showcased for the first time. During her work as a nanny, Maier took more than 150,000 photographs of the people and architecture of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. She recorded some of the most interesting marvels and peculiarities of urban America in the late 20th century.

Walker Evans, Crossroads Store, Post Office, Sprott, Alabama, USA, 1936.  (© the artist and courtesy of Beetles+Huxley and Osborne Samuel)

Walker Evans, Crossroads Store, Post Office, Sprott, Alabama, USA, 1936.
(© the artist and courtesy of Beetles+Huxley and Osborne Samuel)

Also presented is a rare and unusual group of exploration photographs, including the work of travel photography pioneer Herbert Ponting, who produced some of the most enduring images of the Heroic Age Antarctic Exploration, as well as Frank Hurley’s photographs of the Shackleton Expedition. Featured alongside these are original, rare NASA photographs from seminal space missions.

Edward White Over Hawaii, The First American Space Walk, Gemini 4 Mission, 1965.  (© the artist; courtesy of Beetles+Huxley and Osborne Samuel)

Edward White Over Hawaii, The First American Space Walk, Gemini 4 Mission, 1965.
(© the artist; courtesy of Beetles+Huxley and Osborne Samuel)

Contemporary photographs include those with a particular focus on the natural world, with photographers including Edward Burtynsky, Michael Wolf, Alex Maclean, Justine Blau and Michael Najjar examining mankind’s impact on the landscape.

Contact

Osborne Samuel
23a Bruton Street, London W1J 6QG
+44 (0)20 7493 7939
www.osbornesamuel.com

Beetles+Huxley
3-5 Swallow Street, London W1B 4DE
+44 (0)20 7434 4319
www.beetlesandhuxley.com

Here Today By The Luxury Channel

Douglas Gordon, Play Dead; Real Time, 2003 (courtesy of the artist and Studio Lost But Found, Berlin)

Douglas Gordon,
Play Dead; Real Time, 2003 (courtesy of the artist and Studio Lost But Found, Berlin)

A unique and important art exhibition has opened at The Old Sorting Office in the heart of London to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The IUCN Red List of Threatened and Endangered Species, entitled “Here Today….”

Stephanie Quayle, Congress, 2014.   (courtesy of the artist and TJ Boulting Gallery)

Stephanie Quayle, Congress, 2014.
(courtesy of the artist and TJ Boulting Gallery)

Curated by international curatorial collective Artwise, the exhibition includes specially commissioned interactive installations and artist’s rooms, and features the works of world famous artists from a variety of international backgrounds and range of media. The Old Sorting Office has been transformed to take visitors on a journey of artworks on endangered species and environmental concern from artists including Tracey Emin, Andy Warhol, Gavin Turk, Sir Peter Blake and more.

Julian Opie, Apple Tree, 2012 (courtesy of the artist)

Julian Opie,
Apple Tree, 2012 (courtesy of the artist)

Upon entry into the exhibition, visitors are immersed into a unique exploration of the escalating extinction crisis and the current pressure that humanity is placing on the planet. The aim of the exhibition is to raise vital funds for the IUCN, while raising the public’s awareness of the fragility of the planet’s ecosystems and the drastic consequences that can prevail if we fail to take responsibility and action.

Leyla Aliyeva, Life, 2014 (courtesy of the artist)

Leyla Aliyeva,
Life, 2014 (courtesy of the artist)

The exhibition will also boast a social hub, providing a central London location to relax, catch-up with friends and participate in a series of workshops and discussions from prominent artists, curators and conservation experts.

Ackroyd & Harvey, Living Skin, 1992/2014 (courtesy of the artists)

Ackroyd & Harvey,
Living Skin, 1992/2014 (courtesy of the artists)

The exhibition will be open to the public in London until 17th December and will then tour to prominent art capitals in the world, completing its journey at the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, designed by Zaha Hadid.

For more information, please visit www.heretoday.org.

Exhibition Details

Dates: 25th November – 17th December 2014
Address: The Old Sorting Office, 21-33 New Oxford Street, London
Opening Times: Monday – Wednesday: 11-7pm, Thursday – Friday: 11-8pm,
Saturday / Sunday: 11-6pm
Admission: Free for all ages

Luxury Wins Out – Why Luxury Goods Are Bucking Global Trends By Dr. Rebecca Harding

Why are luxury goods bucking current global trends? Dr. Rebecca Harding, CEO of Delta Economics, explains….

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Economic news does not make happy reading at the moment. China is slowing down, the Eurozone, as always, is teetering on the brink of a new crisis, and geopolitical risks (such as the crisis in Ukraine and in Iraq) are making investors uncertain. Add to this the spectre of a humanitarian and economic crisis in Africa as a result of the Ebola virus and falling global oil prices, and it seems as though there is a perfect storm brewing. Markets took a plunge in October and there is no sign that underlying nervousness is about to abate any time soon – the free fall of the Rouble at the beginning of November is testimony to that.

So where does this leave the luxury goods market? China has been attempting to slow down its rapid, export-led growth and instead become an economy that is fuelled by the demand of its ever-burgeoning middle classes. The Delta Economics proxy for how effective this strategy is can be seen through the number of German cars exported to China. More than any other trade corridor, this illustrates just how important luxury goods are to the Chinese economy – German exports of cars are set to grow at an annualised growth rate of 12% for the next five years. No sign of a slow-down there!

So where is the clever money going to go in the luxury market? Delta Economics expects global trade next year to continue its sluggish growth at just above 1% for the year. Against this backdrop, we expect trade in spirits to increase by 2.5%, perfume by 1.4% and cosmetics by 2%. More obvious luxury items, such as “collectables” and cigars, are set to grow globally by 7% and by nearly 14% respectively. This is strikingly higher than “normal” goods trade, so clearly something is going well for the sector.

Asia’s demand for luxury items appears insatiable and any company exporting luxury items to Asia (or just to China), is set to do well. For example, Asia’s demand for spirits and liqueurs will increase by 7.5%, while China’s will grow by 10% in 2015. Similarly, Asia’s demand for wine will grow by 10% and China’s by 13%. Demand in Asia generally and China in particular will grow at around 7% for perfumes and nearly 9% for cosmetics.

But collectors’ items and cigars are the real winners, set to grow in 2015 in Asia by 13.4% and nearly 21% respectively. This is hardly a symptom of a region on the decline. And before we start to be over-concerned about the slowdown in China’s economy consider this: imports of paintings will increase by more than 11% in 2015, engravings by nearly 17%, sculptures by over 10% and antiques by a massive 18%. Back those luxury brands in China – they look like they could be winners!

Contact – Delta Economics

15 Old Bailey
London EC4M 7EF
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3427 6106
E-Mail: info@deltaeconomics.com

Champagne Jacquart’s 50th Anniversary By Hannah Norman

Champagne Jacquart

How do you celebrate a 50th Anniversary in style? For Champagne Jacquart, the Heron Tower’s 39th floor (otherwise known as Sushi Samba), was the perfect location for showcasing the brand’s new Mosaïc collection, as well as the limited edition Champagne Jacquart Rosé Magnum.

The stunning panama of London at night, looking so small from our vantage point so high up in the sky, provided the perfect backdrop to the evening, all set off by DJ duo Le Bon Tong (AKA Amber Le Bon and Becky Tong). The guest list was an eclectic mix of musicians, models and fashion designers, who were only too happy to sample the fizz whilst enjoying Sushi Samba’s fusion cuisine, such as crispy wagyu taquitos and yellowtail tiradito.

Amber Le Bon and Becky Tong

Managing Director Laurent Reinteau revealed he was “really proud” to be celebrating the brand’s 50th anniversary, particularly considering the brand is one of the Champagne region’s youngest, adding that he was “proudly committed to the future.”

Champagne Jacquart is combining the world of design with a contemporary vision and reinventing the codes of luxury through their three key visions of audacity, elegance and passion. Cheers!

Here Comes The Bridal Room! By The Luxury Channel

The Bridal Room

London’s leading wedding and party planner, the internationally acclaimed Bruce Russell, has launched an innovative new concept, called The Bridal Room. The first British luxury bridal destination online, The Bridal Room is set to transform the wedding market, marrying discerning grooms and style-savvy brides to uniquely sourced products, destinations and experiences.

Designed to simplify the wedding planning process, The Bridal Room offers a carefully curated marketplace of the ultimate luxury services and suppliers, meticulously sourced from the “best of the best,” from both Great Britain and around the world. Those in pursuit of perfection can find everything they could wish for their big day, from making the most of a proposal and getting the right gifts, to creating the perfect wedding and planning the honeymoon of a lifetime.

The Bridal Room

Additionally, couples can choose a tailored “Bridal Promenade” and “Groom’s Speech,” whereby they will spend one or two five-star days in London, personally hosted by Bruce himself. With Bruce’s expertise, couples can finesse the finer details of their wedding day, with introductions to some of Britain’s greatest craftsmen – from dressmakers, tailors and shoe designers, to florists, cake-makers and photographers. Completing the experience, couples will be wined and dined in some of London’s chicest eateries.

Tailored weekend Bridal Retreats have also been developed, offering one-to-one access to Bruce on a stunning weekend away in the historical haven of the Four Seasons Hampshire Hotel. Here, the theatre of the wedding day will be perfected in a number of interactive sessions, with couples also able to take full advantage of the hotel’s world-class facilities, ensuring that they return home re-energised and full of inspiration ahead of their big day.

The Bridal Room

For those looking to go further afield, Bruce has partnered with luxury tour operator Scott Dunn to launch a full service for those planning a proposal, a wedding, a honeymoon – or even simply a wine-tasting weekend! “By Bruce Russell For Scott Dunn” gives couples the opportunity to plan a bespoke, end-to-end wedding service that will ensure an unforgettable build-up, big day and beyond.

For The Bridal Room, Bruce has teamed up with long-time friend and global luxury brand specialist Jo James, who has been instrumental in building the business from the beginning. “The British bridal market is set to grow a further 20% by 2016,” Bruce revealed. “With this in mind, we wanted to create a central destination for brides looking to eliminate the stress from their special day. Planning a wedding can be an overwhelming experience!” Brides will surely only able to say “I do” to this pioneering proposition before they walk down the aisle.

Visit www.thebridalroom.gift and www.scottdunn.com/brucerussell for more information.

Chantilly Arts And Elegance By Rob Scorah

Chantilly

With the classic and prestige car gathering at the Chantilly Arts And Elegance concours d’elegance, France reclaimed a cultural institution it evolved almost single-handedly over the first half of the 20th Century. The chateau hosted almost 10,000 spectators at this first edition of the event, with the visitors strolling amongst some 100 hand-picked cars displayed in the Le Nôtre gardens. Many of the cars were prototypes or special-order one-offs from motoring’s greatest names past and present; Delahaye, Bugatti, Bentley, Jaguar, Ferrari and Maserati.

Chantilly

Although over recent years the concours d’elegance has largely become a classic car event, it was originally, in its pre-war heyday, as much a celebration of fresh designs and new machines. These automotive garden parties were held at such hedonistically fashionable locations as Cannes, Le Touquet and Biarritz. Furthermore, each car was usually accompanied by an elegant and fashionably accoutred lady. With this memory in mind, Chantilly sought to make a few ‘‘improvements’’ to the current interpretation of the once-French institution.

Chantilly

Some legendary and singular machines were on display, including the huge and imposing 1930 Bugatti Type 41 Royale coupe, and probably the most famous Le Mans winner of all time; the Ford GT40. As well as the ‘‘classic’’ concours categories, which included such groupings as Italian-bodied British cars, a homage to Bugatti, and Maserati road and racing cars, Chantilly opened a class for modern prototypes. Here it was able to score quite a coup, with some models – Peugeot’s Exalt, the DS Devine and Zagato’s Aston Martin Shooting Brake – actually being shown ahead of their major motor show debuts. Ultra-exclusive McLaren allowed its rarefied P1 GTR to materialise here before appearing anywhere else in Europe.

Chantilly

But it wasn’t necessarily the calibre and excellence of the cars which set Chantilly Arts and Elegance apart from – and above – other events of this type; it was the depth and richness of the pageant. As well as the rolling, al fresco motor show, Chantilly was a celebration of French culture and art. As they rolled out their picnics on the grass, the visitors themselves became part of the theatre.

Chantilly

Strolling the cobbles, elegantly-attired guests (there was a suitably informal but chic dress code) could learn and try for themselves the finer points of formal floral decoration or the millinery arts (with a faintly fifties theme). They could consider such fabulous beasts as the contemporary alloy-sculptured unicorn’s head on the courtyard, or they might pore over ancient volumes in the chateau library – under the gaze of the bust of the great Conde, Victor or Rocroi. In the kitchens, no less than seven Michelin-starred chefs worked on rich and complex flavours, while the chateau itself was given over to exhibitions of how the great French house developed the Arts de Vivre. In the driving arena, models from the fashion runways of Europe strutted beside the modern concept cars, each wearing an haute couture design from a different fashion house; especially crafted to complement the car they accompanied.

Chantilly

While Chantilly Arts and Elegance certainly needs to be on the calendar of anyone interested in that most rarefied strata of unique and desirable cars, it is as much a celebration of passionate and exuberant living, of striving for the best as a celebration of life itself. To broaden that passion to take in every aspect of life, is a very French quality, so it isn’t so hard to see why the concours d’elegance had to come home to reinvigorate the genre.

The Very Finest At The World Equestrian Games By Leonora Smee

Zara Phillips (image courtesy of Jean Baptiste Autissier and Action Images)

Zara Phillips (image courtesy of Jean Baptiste Autissier and Action Images)

Celebrated every four years and alternating with the Olympic Games, the World Equestrian Games, sponsored by Land Rover, is undoubtedly one of the biggest equestrian events in the world. Over a thousand horses and the finest athletes from 76 nations compete against each other in the eight official Fédération Equestre Internationale disciplines, including Jumping, Dressage, Vaulting and Endurance, in front of more than half a million spectators. I was invited by Land Rover to witness some of this fine equine prowess.

His Royal Highness Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamad bin Rashid Al Maktoum (image courtesy of Jean Baptisite Autissier and Action Images)

His Royal Highness Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamad bin Rashid Al Maktoum (image courtesy of Jean Baptisite Autissier and Action Images)

Our first day took in the Endurance Race, which was a huge eye-opener! Perseverance and strength allowed these miraculous riders to complete what was ten hours of an unforgiving and extraordinarily challenging course. I had the fortune of meeting the mother of bronze medallist Abdulrahman Saad A.S. Al Sulaiteen, and spoke to His Royal Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar. Whilst watching the prize-giving, I also secured a chat with the eventual winner of the race, Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamad bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

His Royal Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar speaks to Leonora Smee

His Royal Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar speaks to Leonora Smee

The freestyle Dressage the next day was breath-taking, leaving me with goose-bumps. The consistent control – with no margin for error – is incredible. A real high for me was being able to witness Olympic and European Champion Charlotte Dujardin win Gold and become World Champion. After receiving her award, I caught up with her for an exclusive interview. I asked her how she felt at becoming World Champion with her outstanding horse, Valego. What a pleasant, driven and inspiring woman she is! I also spoke to silver medallist Helen Langehanenberg, and found out what her victory means to her.

Charlotte Dujardin at the World Equestrian Games (image courtesy of Jean Baptiste Autissier and Action Images)

Charlotte Dujardin at the World Equestrian Games (image courtesy of Jean Baptiste Autissier and Action Images)

The following day was Eventing but overnight, the weather had not been good, leaving the cross-country course very wet and incredibly difficult, resulting in last-minute adjustments and the removal of two of the obstacles. After watching the first few riders, it became very apparent that this was not going to be an easy course to complete. Team GBR rode four attacking rounds, ending up top of the leader board. Although the ground was heavy, the horses jumped well. Devastatingly, Wild Lone (ridden by Harry Meade) died suddenly after completing the course.

Zara Phillips and Leonora Smee

Zara Phillips and Leonora Smee

I caught up with Zara Phillips after her ride, and she was very pleased with how her horse, High Kingdom, had performed. She told me that, “he jumped fantastically, although it is proving very difficult. We need the rest of the team to nurse their horses and come home clear.” She had in fact only returned to the saddle this spring, following the birth of her daughter with husband Mike Tindall. After an exhausting day, it transpired that Phillips, together with William Fox-Pitt, Tina Cook and Harry Meade, had taken Team GBR to second place on the leader board, helping Britain to secure a place at the next Olympics.

The girls celebrate their victories (image courtesy of Jean Baptiste Autissier and Action Images)

The girls celebrate their victories (image courtesy of Jean Baptiste Autissier and Action Images)

The whole trip was rounded off by our stay at the 5 star Les Bains de Cabourg Hotel, just outside of Caen. This charming hotel offered all the creature comforts you would expect. We were also given a classic French cookery lesson – great fun and very educational. Of course, this also meant that I got to sample some of the wonderful food as well!

Leonora Smee gets behind the wheel

Leonora Smee gets behind the wheel

Seeing as we had been invited by Land Rover, we were also able to try out some driving experiences. This was all about developing new driving skills through tackling some very unfamiliar terrain! But I had an experienced instructor by my side to guide me through, and my confidence increased with each obstacle I was able to overcome. As a show-jumper, it was great to really be able to push my limits and realise my capabilities behind the wheel, rather than on a horse!

The Land Rover Driving Experience (image courtesy of Jean Baptiste Autissier and Action Images)

The Land Rover Driving Experience (image courtesy of Jean Baptiste Autissier and Action Images)

In all, the World Equestrian Games is a thrilling event, not just for serious equestrians, but also for those who love high-octane, nail-biting sport held in world-class surroundings. Here’s to the next four years!

For more information about Land Rover, go to www.landrover.co.uk/contact-us.

Salute To Style By The Luxury Channel

Image courtesy of Graham Glen

Image courtesy of Graham Glen

As the first Salute To Style hosted by The Hurlingham Club has drawn to a close, visitors, exhibitors, artists and classic car collectors alike have hailed the event as a successful and elegant nod to summer in London: even the sun was a permanent feature throughout the celebrations! As Michael Scott revealed, (who organised Salute To Style in partnership with The Hurlingham Club), the aim was “to create a sophisticated yet discreet salute to style – and we even arranged the weather to go with it!”

Image courtesy of Graham Glen

Image courtesy of Graham Glen

Over the course of the event’s three days, an estimated 2,800 guests visited Salute To Style, where The Hurlingham Club was turned into a timeless backdrop against which the very best of automotive, fashion and art endeavours were displayed.

Image courtesy of Chaumet

Image courtesy of Chaumet

In a true celebration of style in its many forms, priceless Le Mans and Mille Miglia racers, chocolate creations, French wines, Chaumet and Hublot jewels and timepieces, as well as works of art from an exclusive selection of London-based international painters and sculptors, offered visitors a unique display of luxurious elegance. The Luxury Channel particularly liked Chaumet’s Josephine tiara, retailing for £56,900, which we delightedly tried on, along with the matching ring. We might like our cars, but diamonds truly are a girl’s best friend!

Image courtesy of Graham Glen

Image courtesy of Graham Glen

Back outside, and over a hundred classic cars flanked the edges of The Hurlingham Club’s famous grounds, interspersed with British history (such as a Spitfire faithfully built from scratch over twenty years) and the very modern (such as Claydon Reeves’ Aeroboat). The Aeroboat is one of the fastest small yachts, and its design was in fact inspired by the Spitfire. Capable of 50 knots, the key to its power lies in the original, fuel-injected Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. Entirely bespoke, the Aeroboat is yours for a cool £3 million.

Image courtesy of Claydon Reeves

Image courtesy of Claydon Reeves

But when it comes to vehicles with history, you really cannot get much more iconic than a car with a famous connection. Lord Brett Sinclair’s Aston Martin DBS, which was driven by Sir Roger Moore in hit TV show The Persuaders!, took pride of place at The Hurlingham Club. The car holds the world-record for most expensive DBS ever sold at auction (precisely because of its prominent profile).

Image courtesy of Graham Glen

Image courtesy of Graham Glen

A car with a less famous, although arguably just as great a history, was a 1965 E-TYPE Jaguar once owned by Denis “Jenks” Jenkinson, the winner of the legendary 1955 Mille Miglia with Sir Stirling Moss. Jenks covered over 110,000 miles in this Series One 4.2 FHC, and the car has been driven at speed around a variety of circuits across Europe from the TT to Le Mans (reaching over 130 mph on the Mulsanne Straight), and even the Targa Florio course in Sicily.

Image courtesy of Graham Glen

Image courtesy of Graham Glen

If you missed Salute To Style, there are still several upcoming cars concours to attend this year. Salon Prive is held from 3rd – 5th September, followed by the Hampton Court Concours from 5th – 7th of the same month. Head out of London for some vintage fun the following week, as Goodwood Revival is held from 12th – 14th September. Start your engines!

Taking Hollywood – Seductive, Dangerous And Utterly Compelling By Jayjay Epega

Gerard Butler and Ross King

The Luxury Channel was delighted to accept an invitation to London’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge to meet Mr. L.A. himself, Ross King, best known as the top showbiz correspondent on Good Morning Britain, a man we are accustomed to seeing grilling A-list celebrities on the red carpet, from the Academy Awards to The Grammys to the Golden Globes. He was joined by writer and childhood friend Shari Low, who over the last decade has written numerous novels which have been published in the UK and internationally.

They told us exclusively about their new collaboration, Taking Hollywood – One Fateful Night. A Lifetime of Lies. The Ultimate Scandal, which took less than a year to put together! Having been friends for so many years, there was a lot of ease working with each other to the extent that they even came up with the pseudonym “Shari King” to use as the name of the writer for the book.

Taking Hollywood is set in the contrasting worlds of Scotland and LA, and the action revolves around three main characters, Mirren, Zander and Davie, childhood friends from Scotland who have all made it big and are living the dream in Hollywood, but there are dark secrets behind how they got there. It is a rollercoaster read that takes you on a journey inside the gritty world of fame and celebrity, exposing all the glamour behind Tinsel Town. King said, “Look, Shari and I really wanted to write a book that we would read ourselves, something that we believed in and something that everyone can enjoy.”

Gerard Butler and Ross King

One of King’s best friends from his early days in Scotland is Hollywood superstar Gerard Butler who has endorsed the book, so it is no surprise that people may wonder if the characters Mirren, Davie and Zander are based on people he knows in Hollywood. King and Low both agree that some of the stories in the book really did happen, and the characters are elements of different people, including themselves. According to Butler, the book is “a real slice of Hollywood and a brilliant read….but I wouldn’t tell Ross! P.S. I’m not Zander Leith!”

To top it all, King and Low have also garnered support from acclaimed writers such as Jackie Collins and Martina Cole, who said that the book is “a glam, edgy thriller – just the way I like them!”

The book is released mid-August in the UK, available at all good bookstores and also on Amazon.

The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show – Sunshine, Show Gardens And Seven Deadly Sins By The Luxury Channel

Singer Sophie Ellis Bextor (image courtesy of Bethany Clarke, RHS)

Singer Sophie Ellis Bextor (image courtesy of Bethany Clarke, RHS)

Across the four days of The RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year, Sodexo Prestige catered for over 160,000 people, and just over a month later, Sodexo staff were once again preparing floral-inspired catering for the largest flower show in the world, the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Prestige’s events and operations manager, Julie Bromage, revealed that “Britain has such an impressive horticultural tradition; it’s what makes both Chelsea and Hampton unique in the world and such exciting events to work at.”

Preview Evening (image courtesy of Sodexo Prestige)

Preview Evening (image courtesy of Sodexo Prestige)

The RHS Hampton Court Flower Show commenced this year with a spectacular preview evening, featuring a fireworks display and live music in the magical grounds of Hampton Court Palace. A balmy summer evening provided the perfect opportunity for the crowds to admire the inspiring gardens and beautiful floral displays.

Essence of Australia (image courtesy of Neil Hepworth, RHS)

Essence of Australia (image courtesy of Neil Hepworth, RHS)

Of course, when it comes to RHS, the crowds naturally gravitate towards the impressive Show Gardens. Best Show Garden Winner was Essence of Australia by Jim Fogarty for Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, a visual celebration of the beauty and diversity of the landscapes of Victoria and the Northern Territory, encompassing a number of native Australian plants. A striking timber-clad structure, as well as being symbolic of Melbourne’s contemporary architecture, was also reflective of the iconic rock formation for which Australia is well known – Uluru.

Connecting With The Real Sound of Nature (image courtesy of Neil Hepworth, RHS)

Connecting With The Real Sound of Nature (image courtesy of Neil Hepworth, RHS)

The idea of nature being interlinked with the modern age was also apparent in Stefano Passerotti’s gold medal-winning Connecting With The Real Sound of Nature garden. Highlighting the importance of the links between plants, people and sound, the garden was designed to bring together both traditional and contemporary ideas to stimulate all five senses, with the object being a garden that can be enjoyed equally by both able-bodied and disabled visitors.

Gluttony - E123 (image courtesy of Sarah Cuttle, RHS)

Gluttony – E123 (image courtesy of Sarah Cuttle, RHS)

But away from the Show Gardens, we were particularly impressed by the creativity of the Conceptual Gardens. Each garden was themed around a particular Deadly Sin, and it was clear that the designers had really connected with the concept of art meeting horticultural craftsmanship. Our favourites were gold medal-winning Gluttony – E123, highlighting the sheer volume and scale of daily food waste in the UK through oversized sculptures of food packaging, and Sloth – Quarry of Silences. The central focus of the garden was a large sand cone with a golden rock seemingly balanced precariously at the top. Spades thrust into the sand cone were reflective of people in pursuit of a life goal (symbolised by the rock), with the idea being that the pinnacle of success (and thereby the pinnacle of the cone) can be attained, but likewise, that goal can also fall down the slope, and end up in a graveyard of lost dreams on the other side. Thought-provoking stuff indeed – very clever. The judges clearly thought so too, as the garden was the winner in the Best Conceptual Garden category.

Sloth - Quarry of Silences (image courtesy of Sarah Cuttle, RHS)

Sloth – Quarry of Silences (image courtesy of Sarah Cuttle, RHS)

The perfect quintessentially British event, the RHS Royal Hampton Court Flower Show has certainly provided us with a lot of inspiration, from the artful planting in the show gardens, to seeing how much you can do on a specific budget with the Your Garden Your Budget gardens. On that note, we’re rolling our sleeves up and heading outside!

Celebrity Line-Up Announced For Glorious Goodwood By The Luxury Channel

Goodwood

For the fourth consecutive year, Glorious Goodwood’s exciting celebrity charity race, the Magnolia Cup, will welcome a star-studded line-up of ladies, including top fashion model and Ladies Day Ambassador Edie Campbell, and renowned fashion designers Sarah Burton and Vivienne Westwood. The ladies will take on the roles of jockeys, silk designers and team supporters in aid of two charities, The Reading Agency and Best Beginnings, on Ladies Day. Ladies Day provides the perfect opportunity for fashion lovers to showcase their summer style as a sea of floral dresses and wedged heels make their way through the gates.

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood

Previous Magnolia Cup champion and Ladies Day Ambassador Edie Campbell will be returning to the track once again along with fellow jockey contenders, ex-manager of The Clash Tricia Simonon and jeweller Philippa Holland. New faces will also take the reins this year for the first time, including Director of Royal London Group Clare Salmon and eventer Tina Cook. The celebrity riders will be decked out in bespoke racing silks created by renowned fashion designers including Vivienne Westwood, Sarah Burton and Beulah London.

Frost French

Frost French

Campbell revealed she is “very excited to have taken on the role of leading lady – I’m hoping that we can raise even more money than in previous years – and hopefully I’ll still be the leading lady at the finish line too! I have yet to start my training regime but I can’t wait to get into full jockey mode,” which apparently involves “lots of riding out-of-control racehorses at 7am!”

Kate Halfpenny

Kate Halfpenny

Jewellery Designer Theo Fennell, who has designed the prizes for the race, admitted that he will be “shouting my support from the safety of the rails for the brave line up of ladies who will compete to be crowned Magnolia Cup winner 2014!”

Bella Freud

Bella Freud

Glorious Goodwood kicks off in spectacular fashion as thousands of race-goers flock to the downs to participate in what is considered a highlight of the sporting and social calendars. The style stakes are high and the racing even higher as fabulous fashion and spectacular horseracing take over the racecourse.

The Full List of Magnolia Cup Riders And Designers To Date

Jockeys

Edie Campbell
Tricia Simonon
Maggie Buggie
Clare Salmon
Megan Nicholls
Alexis Green
Tina Cook
Laura Redvers
Philippa Holland

Designers

Vivienne Westwood
Frost French
Beulah London
Jasmine Guinness
Kate Halfpenny
Sarah Burton
Bella Freud

Henley Royal Regatta By Fiona Sanderson

Henley Royal Regatta

Celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, Henley Royal Regatta is undoubtedly the best known regatta in the world and is both one of the highlights of the summer sporting calendar and the social season. Attracting thousands of visitors over a five day period, spectators watch over two hundred races of an international standard, including Olympians and crews new to the event.

Henley Royal Regatta

The Luxury Channel was invited by Sodexo Prestige to experience both the Regatta and the finest gourmet first-hand, at Fawley Meadows. Welcomed to a Champagne & Pimms reception, we took our places to watch the races. According to the Regatta’s chairman, Mike Sweeney, “the profile of rowing is very high, although it’s still a minor sport compared to many others. But the rowers themselves are great ambassadors.” He went on to tell us that, “winning and indeed competing at Henley Regatta is the peak of the rowers’ international ambitions. Having been Chairman for 23 years, it’s been a privilege to be part of one of the best traditional events we have in Britain, and seeing it all come together so well.”

Canapes

Part of that “coming together” is the social spectacle of it all, whether it be under cover in the luxury hospitality tents or on the picnic rugs braving the weather. At Fawley Meadows, you can entertain a big party of friends, clients or just have an intimate day for two. Sodexo Prestige has taken over the catering hospitality this year and they certainly know how to do this in style. The champagne flows and the traditional British summer lunch of oak-smoked Severn & Wye salmon, seared corn-fed chicken or wild mushroom ravioli was delicious. Sodexo is a company that knows how to do these events, which are as diverse as Royal Ascot, and the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Employing over 7000 people, this is a slick operation. Every year, Sodexo staff pour more than 375,000 glasses of champagne in more than 690 function rooms – impressive stuff!

Sir Steve Redgrave at Fawley Meadows

Sir Steve Redgrave at Fawley Meadows

Equally impressive was the view we had across the river. As Mike Sweeney pointed out, “What makes Henley Regatta so unique is that it’s the nearest you get to being at a sporting stadium, with the noise and the colour. It’s electric. You can almost touch the course as you are right on the banks of the river close to the races.”

Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly

For this reason, Henley has always attracted “high profile” figures. Grace Kelly used to come and support her Olympic grandfather rower John B. Kelly, as well as giving out the cups on the final day. Today’s celebrities are generally those connected to the sport – Olympian Sir Steve Redgrave, who will be taking over as Vice President of the Regatta, who we spied watching the races at Fawley Meadows, and Sir Ben Ainslie, who was on hand on the Sunday to hand out the winners’ cups. “I recently met a crew who rowed here 50 years ago,” Mike Sweeney reminisced. “They said the Regatta had not changed. It has, in fact, but at least people don’t think it has. There is no major event like it.”

Temple Island

We asked Mr. Sweeney if he could pick five postcard snapshots of the Regatta, what would they be? “Firstly, the view of the course towards Henley town – the bridge and the church and the finishing line,” he said. “Then secondly, the view of the course towards the start and Temple Island. Third would be the boat tent, and fourth, the view of the races on the river. Fifth is an umpire’s launch – it’s iconic. Oh, and one last one – the colour and flavour of those attending….and the hats!”

Henley Royal Regatta

Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Hybris Artistica At Masterpiece London By The Luxury Channel

Eduardo Novillo Astrada and Clive Owen (courtesy of Getty Images)

Eduardo Novillo Astrada and Clive Owen (courtesy of Getty Images)

Jaeger-LeCoultre has chosen Masterpiece London as the venue for the international exhibition and premiere of its Hybris Artistica collection, which comprises twelve fascinating timepieces that represent a combination of watchmaking art and exquisite craftsmanship. The twelve pieces also underline the fine arts of enamelling, gem-setting, and engraving.

Jaeger-LeCoultre was also announced as the official partner of the Masterpiece Patrons Programme – including some of the most influential art dealers and clients from around the world – offering connoisseurs and collectors specially conceived master-classes led by its talented artists and watchmakers through Masterpiece London, with exclusive presentations of the Hybris Artistica and other extraordinary creations.

“Connoisseurs will be fascinated to meet our master watchmakers and craftsmen as they demonstrate their art as well as their passion and excellence,” Zahra Kassim-Lakha, UK Market & Global Strategy Director, said. “Masterpiece London provides the ideal canvas to appreciate the minute scale of our watchmaking masterpieces and the extraordinary mechanical complexity to make our timepieces tick with the greatest precision.” Clare Milford Haven, who became a Polo Ambassador for Jaeger-LeCoultre ten years ago, revealed her love of “the perfect watch – classic yet innovative, sporty yet feminine – a timeless piece. I cannot imagine ever wearing another watch that contains all the features that are such a part of my everyday life.”

Eduardo Novillo Astrada, Clare Milford Haven, Astrid Munoz and Clive Owen (courtesy of Getty Images)

Eduardo Novillo Astrada, Clare Milford Haven, Astrid Munoz and Clive Owen (courtesy of Getty Images)

Steeped in over 180 years of history in watchmaking, and as the largest and one of the most responsible leaders in high-end watchmaking, Jaeger-LeCoultre has additionally announced support for leading UK charity Marie Curie Cancer Care, by becoming headline partner of the Masterpiece Marie Curie Timeless Party, held on June 30th. Special guests visited the exhibitors’ stands and also participated in a silent and live auction of specially selected works of art, collectible items and money-can’t-buy experiences to benefit Marie Curie. Key patrons of the arts, opinion leaders and ambassadors of Marie Curie were then invited to join a private party at The Royal Hospital Chelsea. The money raised from the auction was a real gift to Marie Curie, but for the terminally ill patients and their families whom the charity cares for, each day is a gift and the money will go towards helping them make the most of the time they have left together. A worthy cause indeed.

British Polo Day – Championing Luxury And Breaking Records By The Luxury Channel

Viscount Melville and Simon Keyte (image courtesy of Sam Churchill)

Viscount Melville and Simon Keyte (image courtesy of Sam Churchill)

The British Polo Day Charity Cup, presented by Land Rover, saw over 800 VIP guests and picnickers descend on the prestigious Black Bears private estate and polo ground in Henley-on-Thames. Marking the beginning of the English summer, the second British Polo Day Charity Cup was the home leg of its Global Series, and this year’s event was the return fixture for British Polo Day Singapore and the Atlantic Polo Team’s celebratory match, following their grueling Atlantic race.

Atlantic Polo Team -  Fergus Scholes, BK.James Glasson, Viscount Melville and Henry Brett (image courtesy of Sam Churchill)

Atlantic Polo Team – Fergus Scholes, BK.James Glasson, Viscount Melville and Henry Brett (image courtesy of Sam Churchill)

One of the summer season’s most hotly-anticipated social and sporting events, British Polo Day guests and VIPs travelled with Abercrombie & Kent and arrived in chauffeur-driven Range Rovers to a Champagne Taittinger reception, and a thoroughly British game of Brompton bicycle polo. Guests not only enjoyed a day of top polo in the glorious sunshine but raised a staggering US $310,605 for charity – a record for British Polo Day!

Lord Archer

Lord Archer

In the first match of the day – the British Polo Day Charity Cup presented by Land Rover – the Royal Salute British Exiles Atlantic Polo Team put aside their oars and dusted off their mallets for a closely-fought battle with The InterContinental London Park Lane Commonwealth Team, which resulted in a 6 -3 victory to The Commonwealth. During the second match – the Hackett Trophy –the Oxford Group Holdings British Schools Polo Team and Hackett Team Singapore took to the pitch for an exhilarating match which saw the British Schools Team win 8 -6.

Lord Clifton Wrottesley, Jamie Morisson, Guy Schwarzenbach and Tristan Phillimore (image courtesy of Sam Churchill)

Lord Clifton Wrottesley, Jamie Morisson, Guy Schwarzenbach and Tristan Phillimore (image courtesy of Sam Churchill)

As the sun went down on Black Bears, the victorious teams look their place on the podium for the British Polo Day prize-giving. The coveted Charity Cup and Hackett Trophy were presented to the winners by His Highness Gaj Singh II The Maharaja of Marwar-Jodhpur, Duke of Argyll and Urs Schwarzenbach. The Holland & Holland Shot of the Day went to Max Gottschalk (of The Commonwealth Team), while Jo Chauveau set the style stakes off the pitch – winning Zaeem Jamal’s Best Dressed Lady – and the handsome ‘Que’ was deemed Best Playing Pony.

Best Playing Pony "Que" with Chadwick Delaney and Jamie Morisson

Best Playing Pony “Que” with Chadwick Delaney and Jamie Morisson

Marchioness Clare of Milford Haven revealed some of the strategy that the winning teams would have employed. “Time in a polo game is everything,” she told us. “Games can be won or lost in the dying seconds of the final chukka, so it is important for every player to be aware of how much time they have left.”

Marchioness of Milford Haven and Bk.James Glasson (image courtesy of Sam Churchill)

Marchioness of Milford Haven and Bk.James Glasson (image courtesy of Sam Churchill)

British Polo Day champions British luxury and heritage, showcasing over thirty top British luxury brands and acting as a conduit for championing craftsmanship and heritage in emerging markets. In countries all over the world, polo has a long history of raising significant funding for worthy causes. The British Polo Day team is entirely committed to bringing to bear the full weight of its partners, network and creative talent to this end. To date, British Polo Day has raised an impressive US $684,458 for extremely worthy causes across the world.

For more information on British Polo Day, please visit www.britishpoloday.com.

Cartier Queen’s Cup Final By The Luxury Channel

The biggest names in polo were in action on the Queen’s Ground at Guards Polo Club, Windsor Great Park in a bid to win the Cartier Queen’s Cup 2014….

Courtesy of Getty images

Courtesy of Getty images

One of the most prestigious events of the British sporting calendar, the final was watched by Her Majesty The Queen, Arnaud M. Bamberger (Executive Chairman of Cartier Ltd), and Laurent Feniou (Managing Director of Cartier Ltd), alongside a strong crowd of polo aficionados. Before the match started, the Band of the Grenadier Guards paraded on the field into the shape of the figure 30 to celebrate Cartier’s three decades of sponsorship of polo at the Club. The highlight was the exhilarating play for the Queen’s Cup between Zacara and Talandracas. An impressive performance over the highly regarded Talandracas ensured that Zacara patron Lyndon Lea stepped forward to receive the trophy from Her Majesty The Queen. In fact, Zacara had an easier time than even they thought possible, winning the game 10-7, and were so dominant in the first half of the match that they were 6-2 up at half-time.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

The tournament itself comprised three weeks of electrifying high-goal polo. This world-leading tournament concluded with the historic final played in the presence of The Queen. With fifteen teams entering this most prestigious of tournaments, all expectations were exceeded.

To mirror the impressive talent on the field, Cartier invited guests from the worlds of stage, screen, sport, society, and literature – including Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, Boris Becker and Michelle Dockery – into the Cartier enclosure, welcoming them to an elegant champagne reception.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

The enclosure was transformed to celebrate Cartier’s 30 years of polo sponsorship with floral creations by John Carter; tables were adorned with Cartier’s signature red dahlia, red antirrhinum, deep pink peonies, artichokes, red rose plants and red gladioli. A display of Cartier polo photographs over the past 30 years was located inside the marquee.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Cartier’s link with polo can be seen the world over, with other key historic events including the Cartier World Elephant Polo Championships in Nepal in 1985, the Cartier Polo World Cup on Snow, first played in 1985 on the frozen waters of Lake St Moritz in Switzerland, and the creation of the Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge in 2006. Cartier is proud to have been both the largest and longest sponsors of polo for the past 29 years, worldwide. With each successful enterprise, Cartier confirms its enthusiasm for an exceptional sport of passion and skill. The Cartier Queen’s Cup is the latest chapter in the company’s link with the “King of Sports, and the Sport of Kings.”

Royal Ascot – The Highlight of The Flat Racing Calendar By Hannah Norman

Upon this striking Heath a joyful throng shall once again with eagerness descend….

Image courtesy of Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse

Image courtesy of Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse

One of the highlights of the British Summer Social Season is undoubtedly Royal Ascot, arguably the most prestigious meeting of the flat racing calendar. Ensconced within this iconic building, recently refurbished (and used as a substitute for Shanghai Airport in Skyfall), our box in the Grandstand Enclosure afforded us fabulous views not just across the race course, but also out across the rolling Berkshire countryside. Her Majesty The Queen even proclaimed that “Royal Ascot is one of Britain’s finest sporting events and it always gives me and my family great pleasure to attend. I have been very fortunate to win as an owner at Royal Ascot, most recently with Estimate in the Gold Cup last year.” Whilst the filly wasn’t running when we were at Ascot, the Queen had two horses competing, most notably the four year old Sea Shanty, who finished fourth in the Royal Hunt Cup.

Image courtesy of Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse

Image courtesy of Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse

Expectations were high amongst our assembled party (even though most of us couldn’t claim to have any knowledge of what to bet on, let alone the backgrounds of the runners). Undeterred, we proceeded to mull over our options as apparent pros of the sport. But that is the beauty of Ascot – whilst the meeting is all about the horses, the event itself is so much more than that. This is a social occasion, the chance to see and be seen (and certainly, our position above the assembled crowds below gave us the perfect vantage point to indulge in a little people watching).

Image courtesy of Miles Willis/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse

Image courtesy of Miles Willis/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse

There is a veritable “British-ness” about Royal Ascot that makes this event all the more unique, most notably summed up by the way the crowds of the Grandstand and Royal Enclosures departed en masse at the end of the last race, to make their way towards the bandstand. As is the tradition here, they proceeded to sing along to a range of typically classic British songs, accompanied by much flag-waving (although The Luxury Channel refuses to disclose if we joined in!) This popular tradition dates back to the 70s, when Lady Beaumont, the wife of the then Clerk of the Course, started proceedings, only to be joined by thousands of other race-goers. The much-loved and clearly greatly anticipated sing-along has grown over the years to become an unofficial closing ceremony for each day of Royal Ascot.

Image courtesy of Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse

Image courtesy of Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse

Whilst Royal Ascot is certainly the most famous meeting here, the racecourse’s calendar runs right across the year, with the forthcoming Summer Mile Raceday and King George Weekend the next events to be seen at. Get in touch with your milliner now!

For further information about Ascot, visit www.ascot.co.uk. For further information about the fine dining options available, click here.

The British Establishment of Men’s Shirts Is Set To Be Rocked By Princess Diana’s Dress Designer By Hannah Norman

Simon Petherick and Elizabeth Emanuel with models wearing the new range of Thresher & Glenny shirts (image courtesy of Chris Montgomery)

Simon Petherick and Elizabeth Emanuel with models wearing the new range of Thresher & Glenny shirts (image courtesy of Chris Montgomery)

Elizabeth Emanuel, co-designer of one of the most iconic dresses in the world – Princess Diana’s wedding dress – is set to rock the British establishment of men’s shirts with a new and contemporary range of women’s business shirts designed exclusively for the Queen’s shirtmakers, Thresher & Glenny.

Edward Fox and models wearing the new range of Thresher & Glenny shirts (image courtesy of Chris Montgomery)

Edward Fox and models wearing the new range of Thresher & Glenny shirts (image courtesy of Chris Montgomery)

The official launch and unveiling of the collection by The House of Britannia was held last week in the auspicious surroundings of London’s Pasley-Tyler club, the classic English style providing the perfect backdrop for the assorted invited guests. Eminent figures from the acting world, such as Edward Fox and Rula Lenska, rubbed shoulders with stars from the music industry – rapper Eck Sell and singer Sonique – and from the world of sport, as long jump champion Jade Johnson also attended the event.

Sonique and Jade Johnson (image courtesy of Chris Montgomery)

Sonique and Jade Johnson (image courtesy of Chris Montgomery)

Guests enjoyed glasses of Nyetimber sparkling wine, while models showcased the exclusive shirts that Elizabeth has designed.

Conrad Baker and Emma Noble (image courtesy of Chris Montgomery)

Conrad Baker and Emma Noble (image courtesy of Chris Montgomery)

The range, called Thresher & Glenny by Elizabeth Emanuel, will launch in North America and Europe in Spring 2015, with the first season’s shirts on sale in selected department stores and online.

The Millbrook Summer Diary By Camilla Hellman

The Millbrook Summer Season is under way with the Mashomack International Polo Challenge and upcoming Fitch’s Corner Horse Trials….

Mashomack Polo

The 17th Annual Mashomack International Polo Challenge took place on Saturday 21st June, presented by Nespresso. Located just 90 minutes from New York City, The Mashomack Polo Club is located on a 1,900 acre private reserve in Pine Plains, New York.

Mashomack Group Shot

Mashomack sits in the heart of the Millbrook Hunt Country, a international enclave for those preferring their Hunter boots, Barbours and country ways. It is in particular a favorite enclave of the British and Italians in New York who want to hunt or shoot, or just enjoy an escape from the City, and it is the annual Mashomack Polo Challenge that marks the beginning of the Millbrook summer social calendar. Over 1,000 guests watched a great day of polo, with 750 attending the seated luncheon and others gathering to tailgate.

Parker Gentry Thorne, Karen Klopp, Bruce and Teresa Colley

This year, the Challenge welcomed Team Italia sponsored by Wide World Ferrari, embolized in vivid red. The team comprised Marco Elser, Paolo di Campello, Raimondo Visconti di Modrone and Gringo Colombres.

Team Italia

The eight goal International Polo Challenge saw Team Italia competing against QUEST, Vikram Chatwal Hotels, Nihiwatu Sumba On The Edge of Wilderness, and What2WearWhere – who won the hard-fought tournament. The Mathias Guerrand Hermes Sportsmanship Award went to the captain of the What2WearWhere team, John Klopp. Dynamite, owned by Philip Mactaggart, won The Heather Croner Sotheby’s International Real Estate’s Best Playing Pony Award.

Team Italia

The high-spirited event began at noon with a Louis Roederer Champagne Reception, whilst on the field, the next generation of the Mashomack Polo Club, the “Young Guns” (aged eight years old and up), took to the field and showed that they are ready to take their elder counterparts’ places on the field.

Polo Team

Weekly polo matches take place from May to September – tailgaters are encouraged, and details can be found on the Mashomack Polo website. A portion of the proceeds from this year’s Challenge will help local charities, including Pine Plains Fire Hose & Rescue Company, New York State Troopers Foundation, and Ronald McDonald House New York.

Meet The Teams

Quest: Don Langlois, Shane Finemore, Oakleigh Thorne and Julio Ezcurra
Nihawatu: James McBride, Bruce Colley, Craig Callen and Agucho Zavaletta
Vikram Chatwal Hotels: Guy Merison, Philip Mactaggart, Ian Mactaggart, Oliver Merison and Tatin Zubiaurre
What 2 Wear Where: John Klopp, Parker Gentry, Nick Bienstock and Michel Dorignac
Wide World Ferrari: Marco Elser, Raimondo Visconti, Paolo Campello and Gringo Colombres
Young Guns White Team: Jake Klopp, Alex Langlois, Ian Mactaggart and Milo Dorignac
Young Guns Black Team: Adam Klopp, Max Langlois, Juanse Olivera and Davis Colley

Coming Up At Millbrook

The 21st Annual Fitch’s Corner Horse Trials, from 18th – 21st July, hosted by Fernanda Kellogg and Hirk Henckels at their 150 acre farm.

Fitch's Corner Horse Trials

There are equestrian events throughout the weekend, with cross country, stadium jumping and dressage competitions, together with the Fitch’s Market of over 55 shop and food suppliers offering everything from saddles to hats to home accents.

Fernanda Kellogg

The Blue Jeans Ball brings together all in the Millbrook community on the Saturday night and is followed by The Spectator Luncheon on the Sunday. With hats “requested,” the summer luncheon is country chic – the tent is always stunningly decorated, and the tranquil setting overlooks the stadium jumping arena. It’s a wonderful weekend in Millbrook Country.

For ticket information and further details, visit www.fitchscorner.com. Fitch’s Market is open Saturday and Sunday, and there is no entrance charge for visitors.

The Summer Social Season’s Big Hitters At Hurlingham By Hannah Norman

The legends of the game line up

The legends of the game line up

With Wimbledon just around the corner, the greats of the tennis world descend on the Hurlingham Club for a few days of frenzy, frivolity and just a hint of the serious competitiveness that will ensure victory in SW19.

Kyle Edmund

Kyle Edmund

Luckily for us, The Luxury Channel has a chance to mingle with the ‘‘great and the good’’ from the celebrity world from time to time and on this occasion, we found ourselves seated alongside interior designer and TV personality Kelly Hoppen, and dancer Brendan Cole.

Kelly Hoppen

Kelly Hoppen

The tennis began with an exciting match between Kyle Edmund and Marin Cilic, the latter having been trained by one Goran Ivanisevic, the only wildcard to have ever won at Wimbledon. Ivanisevic himself was to play in the later doubles match, opposite the all-Aussie team of Peter McNamara and Mark Phillippousis, who had fortunately made a full recovery from the back injury that hampered his game at the Statoil Masters Tennis.

Goran Ivanisevic and Mark Philippoussis

Goran Ivanisevic and Mark Philippoussis

But of course, this being Hurlingham, there was only one man the crowds had come to see. Having perfected his game in the streets of his native Iran armed with little more than a frying pan in place of a racquet, court jester Mansour Bahrami is undisputed king of the trick shot, and his comedic on-court antics were surely the highlight of an enjoyable evening.

Mansour Bahrami

Mansour Bahrami

With a centre court seating just 600 spectators, this is a much more intimate setting, and with the beautiful backdrop of the Hurlingham Club behind (not to mention the hospitality packages on offer), this is the tennis event of the season, and the perfect warm-up to Wimbledon!

For more information about the BNP Paribas Tennis Classic at The Hurlingham Club, go to www.bnpparibastennisclassic.com.

Turning Up The Glamour – One For The Boys By Jayjay Epega

Samuel L. Jackson, Sofia Davis and Colin Firth (image courtesy of Getty Images Europe)

Samuel L. Jackson, Sofia Davis and Colin Firth (image courtesy of Getty Images Europe)

The Luxury Channel attended one of the most glamorous events to hit the London Men’s Collections calendar this season. Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Firth, Simon Pegg, David Walliams, Jeremy Piven, Jesse Metcalfe, Pixie Lott, Amanda Holden, Margot Robbie, Luke Evans, David Gandy, Lewis Hamilton and British GQ editor Dylan Jones were among the guests at the inaugural One For The Boys Fashion Ball, which took place at the Natural History Museum in London, as part of the London Men’s fashion week.

One For The Boys

One For The Boys is a charity founded by Sofia Davis and chaired by Samuel L. Jackson. Uniting the worlds of fashion, sport, music, food, film, comedy, television and exploration for one night only, the Fashion Ball launched the One For The Boys campaign. The first of its kind to fight every type of male cancer, it is a charity initiative set up to educate men about male cancers, so they know what symptoms to look out for and seek help when in doubt, as early detection will help save lives. Mr. Jackson said that “One For The Boys shines a little blue in the world of cancer campaigning – something I believe to be overdue, as it focuses on cutting through the noise to educate men, in the hope that we can have a similar reach to that of the pink campaigns.”

David Gandy (image courtesy of Getty Images Europe)

David Gandy (image courtesy of Getty Images Europe)

Stars including Jackson, Colin Firth, Simon Pegg, Bear Grylls, Mr. Hudson, David Walliams, George Lamb, Jesse Metcalfe, Jeremy Piven, Oliver Cheshire and David Gandy took to the catwalk for the ultimate men’s “fashion moment,” modelling stylish designs from Alexander McQueen, Asprey, Fendi, Giorgio Armani, Hugo Boss, Richard James and Y-3.

Guests were treated to a Moët & Chandon reception and a fine dining experience by a dream team of Michelin star chefs, including Michael Caines MBE, Marcus Wareing and Jason Atherton, before a silent auction to raise funds for the charity. Musical performances came from Paloma Faith and Jahmene Douglas.

For more information on One For The Boys, please visit www.onefortheboys.com.

Chestertons Polo In The Park By The Luxury Channel

MINT Team London & City A.M. Team Abu Dhabi

Chestertons Polo In The Park, one of the most hotly-anticipated fixtures on London’s sporting and social calendar, blends ferociously competitive on-field action, a variety of off-field entertainment and world-class, pitch-side hospitality. Now in its eighth consecutive year, Chestertons Polo will return to the beautiful surroundings of historic Hurlingham Park, from 3rd – 5th June.

Chestertons Polo In The Park continues the legacy of bringing the exhilarating world of polo to London, and has become one of the capital’s greatest summer social outdoor events. International polo players from countries such as Argentina, Australia and South Africa, riding some of the world’s best polo ponies, will thunder across the fields of Hurlingham Park in thrilling, high-octane polo matches to compete for the Chestertons Polo In The Park Trophy. Additionally, the England Polo Team will be returning to Hurlingham to compete in a historic match, with South Africa the opposition in one of the must-see polo clashes of 2016!

Polo In The Park

With a large range of off-field features and world-class hospitality areas, Chestertons Polo In The Park will offer guests a quintessentially British celebration at the spiritual home of polo – the perfect way to kick off the summer season in London with family, friends or colleagues.

Launched in 2009 as an exciting and innovative new polo event that hit the streets of London with gusto and glamour, Polo In The Park went on to win the 2010 and 2011 London Sport Attraction of the Year Award at The London Lifestyle Awards, followed by a Distinction of Excellence Award in 2013 from Visit England, as a leading outdoor polo and lifestyle event.

For more information and to book tickets, go to www.polointheparklondon.com.

Swarovski Presents Fredrikson Stallard’s Prologue By The Luxury Channel

Prologue by Fredrikson Stallard for Swarovski Design Miami Basel

Prologue by Fredrikson Stallard for Swarovski Design Miami Basel

Swarovski will be presenting Prologue, a new large-scale installation created by Fredrikson Stallard, at Design Miami/Basel, the global design forum. Prologue is a powerful representation of new beginnings and an abstract symbol of life and rebirth. The monumental circular sculpture, holding over 8,000 golden Swarovski crystal droplets within a patinated steel frame, will be suspended from a beam with luminous rings that mimic the iconography of the sun as it constantly reflects and refracts light.

Patrik Fredrikson and Ian Stallard formed their design partnership in 1995 and have become internationally recognized as leading exponents of British avant-garde design. They are admired for their ability to translate their vision into simple yet emotionally engaging furniture and product designs. Prologue is the latest collaborative work between Swarovski and the designers, and was first shown at Art Basel in Hong Kong in May. It is the second time Fredrikson Stallard have shown a dramatic large-scale installation for Swarovski at Design Miami/ Basel (the Iris Collection was presented in 2011).

Previous collaborations between Fredrikson Stallard and Swarovski include:
• 2007: Pandora – Salone del Mobile, Milan
• 2008: Cavern Collection – Salone del Mobile, Milan
• 2009: Fossil Collection – Cannes Boat Show, France
• 2010: Savoy Grill Chandeliers – London
• 2011: Iris Collection – Design Miami/Basel, Switzerland
• 2013: Atelier Swarovski Autumn/Winter 2013 Jewellery Collection
• 2013: British Film Awards – BIFA trophy designed by Fredrikson Stallard and created by Swarovski

Swarovski’s past collaborations with the likes of Ron Arad, Tom Dixon, Ross Lovegrove, Arik Levy, John Pawson and Zaha Hadid have resulted in a spectacular body of work which provides a snapshot of the most exciting and innovative minds of the 21st century. Swarovski’s recent projects include Perspectives by British minimalist John Pawson – shown at the Venice Biennale – and Prima, created by Zaha Hadid at Vitra Design Museum in Germany.

Mad Men’s Jon Hamm Is A Benz Man By Jayjay Epega

Jon Hamm unveils the beautiful new Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4MATIC Coupe that made its debut at the New York International Auto Show….

Jon Hamm unveils the new Mercedes-Benz S63 (image courtesy of Richard Drew, Associated Press)

Jon Hamm unveils the new Mercedes-Benz S63 (image courtesy of Richard Drew, Associated Press)

Actor Jon Hamm has begun providing voice-overs for German car maker Mercedes, lending his sonorous, all-comforting, all-promising pitchman’s authority to its TV spots. He told us, “It’s funny, right? Kind of this weird synergy,” alluding to the fact that the role he’s most identified with – that of dapper Don Draper, the powerful yet powerfully conflicted master of advertising on AMC’s Mad Men (shown on Sky Atlantic in the UK) – has now led to an actual gig selling cars. “It’s strange, but it’s good for me. I vote yes!”

Jon Hamm unveils the new Mercedes-Benz S63 (image courtesy of Richard Drew, Associated Press)

Jon Hamm unveils the new Mercedes-Benz S63 (image courtesy of Richard Drew, Associated Press)

Hamm came out on stage at the event to help unveil the new luxury coupe with Mercedes-Benz USA President Steve Cannon. “I can promise you if we were doing Mad Men today, I would put it into my contract that Don Draper would drive this,” he said. Mercedes has yet to reveal the actual price of the S63 AMG 4Matic Coupe; however, as an estimate, the model it replaces started at $154,600 (about £100,000) – plus delivery charges. The S63 Coupe is the “ultimate halo car” for the Mercedes-Benz brand, and the big coupe, a spin-off of the Mercedes flagship S-Class sedan, is powered by a 577 horsepower 5.5 litre bi-turbo V-8. The two door luxury model introduces a new feature dubbed Curve Tilting Function, which leans into curves like a skier.

The new model also gets a variety of high-tech safety and creature comfort features. There’s infrared night vision, for example, and its forward-facing radar can bring it to a complete stop if traffic slows, or if a pedestrian walks in front while it’s cruising city streets. Also, a new touchpad allows a motorist to scribble in an address rather than typing it on the big touch screen.

Jon Hamm in the driving seat of the new Mercedes-Benz S63 (image courtesy of Richard Drew, Associated Press).

Jon Hamm in the driving seat of the new Mercedes-Benz S63 (image courtesy of Richard Drew, Associated Press).

Production has been ramped up due to the greatly increasing demand – then again, considering his connections to the company, one might suspect that Jon Hamm just might be able jump to the head of the line should he decide to place his own order.

For more information on Mad Men, visit www.amctv.com/shows/mad-men. For more information on Mercedes Benz, visit www.mercedes-benz.co.uk.

David Gandy – Jennifer Lopez’s New Love Interest By The Luxury Channel

David Gandy and Jennifer Lopez

British supermodel David Gandy will star alongside Jennifer Lopez in the video for her new single First Love, the second release from her new album A.K.A. The video features Gandy getting up close and personal with Lopez, playing the part of her love interest.

Gandy is the only person to feature in the video alongside the star and, whilst he is no stranger to appearing on film, this marks his first appearance in a music video. He revealed that he “got the call and thought it would be great fun and an experience which is a little bit different to the things that I’ve done before. The treatment included a lot of iconic fashion references, so it was an exciting opportunity.” There was an unexpected downside to the experience, however. “We shot in the desert outside LA expecting it to be really hot, but the weather turned. The winds were incredibly strong and created almost sandstorm-like conditions, so it turned out to be freezing making filming conditions a bit challenging!” Gandy admitted. “The crew were in protective goggles, hats and scarves and we were facing the elements, sometimes in minimal clothing.”

But what about his co-star? The model revealed that Lopez was “very down to earth and we had a lot of fun.” Lopez returned the compliment, describing Gandy as a “great guy,” and she joked that “he may have been shirtless occasionally, but for the most part he had clothes on!”

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014 – Robots, Rabbits And A Splash of Red Wine By Hannah Norman

Last year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show centenary saw creative colours, mythical creatures, gnomes and fabulous planting. A difficult act to follow!

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This year, however, certainly didn’t disappoint. Imagination and flair were everywhere. The trend this year included tiered gardens and the Best Fresh Garden winner, the RNIB’s Mind’s Eye Garden, and also Bord Na Mona UK’s Vital Earth The Night Sky Garden, both employed tiers in order to give
another dimension to their gardens. The central focus of The Mind’s Eye was a clever infinity box, strategically positioned within the confines of a water wall. Apparently only a few feet deep, when
viewed from the tier -­ due to the clever interaction of lights and mirrors -­ the box looked several metres deep, thus challenging the sighted viewer by distorting the image they would have expected to see.

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Vital Earth The Night Sky, meanwhile, designed by David Rich (at just twenty-three, one of the youngest designers to have presented a show at Chelsea), encompassed a viewing platform complete with telescope, perfect for a spot of star-gazing. The theme continued across the garden below, with the serpentine stone walls outlining simple constellations, and protruding boulders reflective of fallen meteors. The garden’s two pools were symbolic of black holes.

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One of our favourite gardens this year was the Cloudy Bay Sensory Garden, designed by Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam from Wilson McWilliam Studio. Charred oak panels symbolised the barrels used during the fermenting process, whilst the vibrant hue of the planting – looking for all the world like someone had expertly thrown a glass of Merlot across the garden -­ was symbolic of the blackcurrant and raspberry flavours of the wine. So no surprise raspberries featured in the planting. McWilliam was rightfully optimistic about the garden’s chances with the judges, and the team were rewarded for their efforts with a silver-gilt medal. “People have wanted to linger in the garden,” he told me, “and the response we’ve had has been fantastic.”

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As ever at Chelsea, several British TV personalities were out in force to soak up the sun and enjoy the gardens. We spied a busy Ben Fogle, fresh from the London Pet Show the day before, having a look at the Laurent-Perrier Garden, the Best Show Garden winner. Stephen Fry, meanwhile, was in the No Man’s Land Garden, designed to mark the centenary of World War One, by highlighting the battle scars of the Somme landscape and how, despite these scars, the land has been able to regenerate. War was a feature of another garden, and we spied Ross Kemp in the Hope On The Horizon Garden, a contemplative space for injured servicemen and women designed to support the charity Help For Heroes.

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Meanwhile, Lily Cole posed for pictures in House of Faser’s Fabric Garden, designed to challenge perceptions of what can be used outdoors, hence the traditional living room setting – but in an outdoor environment.

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It wasn’t all celebrities, however. Stoke-On-Trent City Council Partnership’s garden, Positively Stoke-On-Trent, was designed to emphasise the city’s regeneration and focus on the natural world, with an impressive moving water structure consisting of two stainless steel arches, to represent sustainable energy, and vibrant planting was reflective of a flow of energy. Helping to promote the garden was a seven foot robot named Titan, who, despite relaying positive messages about Stoke-On-Trent, then became a little enamoured with our photographer ­- we took that as our cue to beat a somewhat hasty retreat!

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Hooksgreen Herbs in The Great Pavilion had help on hand from Peter Rabbit, with their Herb Garden attracting a lot of attention ­- not least (if you know your Beatrix Potter) due to Mr. McGregor¹s iconic scarecrow featuring Peter¹s discarded coat and shoes.

Peter Rabbit

Speaking of iconic, Gucci made their RHS debut this year with Flora, their entry in the Fresh Garden category. Since the Gucci Flora motif was first designed back in 1966 in homage to Grace Kelly (then Princess of Monaco), it has become one of the Italian fashion house’s most recognisable icons, and the same principles of creativity and quality have been exemplified within designer Sarah Eberle’s garden. That self same quality was recognised by the judges, as they were awarded a Silver-gilt medal.

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It wasn’t only the garden designers going all out this year. Outdoor furniture makers Gaze Burvill, at Chelsea for the 21st time, had employed the talents of Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medallist Tom Hoblyn to create a garden scene reminiscent of the rolling Hampshire countryside, and the very essence of an English country garden. With native grasses, flowers and masonry, the display was offset by a bountiful oak, the signature resource used in all their steam-bent furniture.

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So whatever your plans for the months ahead, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show has certainly provided us with a bit of inspiration when it comes to luxury garden landscaping. On that note, we’re off to sit in the sun!

Winners of The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014

Best Show Garden: Luciano Giubbilei’s Laurent-Perrier Garden
Best Fresh Garden: LDC Design’s The Mind’s Eye Garden
Best Artisan Garden: Kazuyuki Ishihara Design Laboratory’s Togenkyo – A Paradise on Earth Garden
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Julian Fellowes At Lady Foley’s Grand Tour Launch By The Luxury Channel

Sudeley Castle

Sudeley Castle

Julian Fellowes was the special guest of the Hon. Alexandra Foley, founder of Lady Foley Grand Tour™, at the Lady Foley Grand Tour™ launch party at the Sloane Club. Guests included Foley’s friends who have inherited Britain’s historic houses, such as the Duke of Rutland (Belvoir Castle), Lady Ashcombe (Sudeley Castle), Viscountess Stormont (Scone Palace), Francis Fulford (Great Fulford) and Sir Benjamin Slade Bt. (Maunsel House); influential ‘‘gatekeepers’’ of ultra high net worth individuals who have moved to the UK or are visiting; property finders, wealth managers, art world luminaries, leaders in luxury services and a rich assortment of London society.

Belvoir Castle

Belvoir Castle

Foley’s vision is to offer affluent newcomers to the UK exclusive personal and private invitations to lunch in situ with selected owners of Britain’s finest historic houses. The business model is designed to be win-win: the owners are paid handsomely for their time, and Foley’s guests experience the real ‘‘Downton Abbey’’ world behind the scenes, treated as personal friends rather than tourists. Foley will also donate a percentage of profits to charities for the homeless.

Witley Court

Witley Court

Foley said, “I wish to make outsiders feel like insiders by offering them a private invitation as though they were personal friends. There are many companies offering access to historic houses but few know their owners on a personal level.” Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey, added: “The Lady Foley Grand Tour seems to me to benefit everyone concerned. The visitors who could not have hoped for a better time, and the estate owners who hosted the general merriment. In short, it is a thoroughly good thing for British heritage generally.”

The House of Britannia – Investing In The Success of British Luxury Brands By The Luxury Channel

Gemma Chan

The House of Britannia, the new British luxury goods investment and management company, has announced that it is agreeing to acquire a majority stake in Cornelia James Limited, Royal Warrant holders to Her Majesty the Queen for Gloves.

Managing Director Simon Petherick said that he has “been an admirer of Cornelia James for many years. Their combination of elegance, glamour and romance has enormous potential to develop as a lifestyle brand in key global luxury markets such as China, South East Asia and the Middle East. I and my team are looking forward very much to working with the management of the company over the next few years to help it become an internationally recognised luxury brand.”

Cornelia James was founded when the art and design student from Vienna arrived in England as a refugee in 1939. After the war, in a world made drab by rationing, the leather gloves that Cornelia made in a huge range of colours became fashion essentials. In November 1947, the marriage of Princess Elizabeth to Lt. Philip Mountbatten provided a vivid splash of colour against a background of unremitting post war austerity. Norman Hartnell made the Princess’ wedding gown and ‘‘going-away’’ outfit and he turned to Cornelia James to provide the gloves. It marked the beginning of a long association with the Royal Household marked, in 1979, by the granting of a Royal Warrant. Today, Cornelia’s daughter Genevieve runs the company, along with her husband, Andrew Lawson.

Britannia_Logo

Fortnum & Mason Celebrates Its Jewellery Room’s First Birthday By The Luxury Channel

Fortnum & Mason Jewellery Room

To celebrate their first birthday, Fortnum & Mason have a number of special events and promotions planned, running from Monday 12th to Sunday 18th May, and drawing in some of the Jewellery Room’s most famed craftsmen. Situated on the second floor at Fortnum & Mason, the Jewellery Room offers a beautifully curated range of classic and contemporary pieces at varying price points. The line up includes:

Jewellery Room First Birthday Party
Wednesday 14th May, 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Some of the world’s most talented jewellery designers will be making personal appearances at the event, including Melanie Georgacopolous, Alex Monroe and Stephen Webster. There’s no charge to get in and sustenance takes the form of delicious handmade macarons supplied by event sponsor, L’Orchidee.

Susan Caplan – Costume Jewellery Valuations
Thursday 15th May, 5:00pm to 7:00pm

Guests can bring in their own costume jewellery pieces and get free valuation estimates from Susan. She’ll also be giving top tips on how best to look after it, and imparting her expert knowledge on costume jewellery too.

Astley Clarke – Complimentary Engraving Service
Friday 16th May, 5:00pm to 8:00pm

Any customers who purchase an Astley Clarke piece between 5:00pm and 8:00pm will be offered the opportunity of free engraving.

Katie Hillier
All week

Guests will be offered a free hair accessory worth £35.00 with every purchase of Katie Hillier jewellery.

Katie Rowland
All Week

Guests will receive 20% off any purchase from the Katie Rowland collection.

Jessica De Lotz
All Week

Guests will receive a free, personalised Jessica de Lotz ring, in the style of a key, with the purchase of any initial necklace or bangle (the ring is worth £75).

Contact

Fortnum & Masons, Piccadilly, London, W1A.
www.fortnumandmason.com

The Latest From Land Rover By Hannah Norman

The Land Rover Experience Fleet

When it comes to driving forward new ideas, Land Rover has always been at the forefront of innovation, and the last few months have clearly been busier than ever for the brand, with several big announcements which are keeping them firmly in the automotive headlines.

Invisible Bonnet

Firstly, the launch of Land Rover’s invisible bonnet. Not literally, of course, but virtually. The technology gives full visibility of what is underneath and in front of the car, providing total clarity when it comes to negotiating difficult or uneven terrain. Nervy urban drivers, or those who frequently find themselves having to park in tight spaces, will now be able to park parallel to pavements with perfect precision thanks to cameras that feed imagery showing the position of the car’s front wheels. At last, something to avoid those scratched hubcaps!

Land Rover Discovery

From navigating spaces to navigating space itself, Land Rover’s next big announcement was for a long-term global partnership with Virgin Galactic. The aim is to inspire young people pursuing careers in science and technology. In true dramatic style, the reveal took place in New York on board USS Intrepid, a former aircraft carrier and now a museum anchored on the River Hudson, with Land Rover’s new Discovery Vision Concept car standing alongside Virgin’s SpaceShipTwo (the world’s first commercial spaceship), thus demonstrating the sense of adventure shared by both brands.
The partnership will see Land Rover vehicles become part of daily life for the Virgin Galactic team, and the company will base a fleet of vehicles at both Virgin Galactic’s test centre in California, and its operational base in New Mexico.

Discovery Vision Concept Revealed

Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Galactic, revealed that he “couldn’t be more delighted to have Land Rover join us on our incredible journey. It is hard to think of a brand which is more synonymous with exploration and adventure. The safety and engineering excellence of Land Rover’s vehicles, which have been the stuff of legend for more than 65 years, are attributes which also lie at the heart of Virgin Galactic. We look forward to crossing the final frontier together and to a long and fruitful partnership.”

Testing The Land Rover Experience Fleet

The latest big announcement came at a specially organised day at Hedsor Park in the UK, when Land Rover revealed they had teamed up with luxury adventure travel specialists Abercrombie & Kent, founded by Geoffrey Kent. Their concept, called Adventure Travel, puts travellers quite literally in the driving seat as they get behind the wheel to put their Land Rover vehicle through its paces over some of the world’s most beautiful, dramatic terrain, all under the care of specialist instructors, and organised through Abercrombie & Kent. This coming together of two iconic British brands will commence with a Best of British Tour as well as two itineraries that showcase some of the most thrilling experiences in Africa and India respectively. The Luxury Channel got to try out the 4×4 track at Hedsor to get a feel for what the forthcoming tours will entail (albeit minus the mystique of rhinos and tigers). A smooth ride combined with Land Rover’s latest technology ensured a fun-filled afternoon driving down steep banks and negotiating our way around trees, followed by champagne and springbok burgers overlooking the beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside. This was but a taster of the main tours, but the exhilaration of the assembled guests was enough to show that this is well worth booking for. Next year sees tours organised for China, Morocco and Iceland.

Hedsor House

Finally, to cap off what is already turning into a momentous year for the company, Jaguar Land Rover’s export success has achieved the Queen’s Award For Enterprise In International Trade, for outstanding overseas sales growth. Last year, Jaguar Land Rover sold 425, 000 vehicles in more than 170 countries. 80% of all of its vehicles built in Britain are exported, with Europe, China and North America being the biggest markets.

Jaguar Land Rover

It’s not even half way through the year, but we’re poised behind the wheel to see what’s next for this quintessentially British brand!

www.landrover.com

Andy Murray Returns To Hurlingham By Hannah Norman

Andy Murray

What does it take to make a champion? Practice, practice, and er, a luxurious few days spent on the grass courts of the Hurlingham Club, apparently.

Current Wimbledon Men’s Champion Andy Murray will be back in SW6 for the annual BNP Paribas Tennis Classic, regarded by those in the know as the warm-up to Wimbledon. This intimate venue is the perfect setting for a summer’s day watching world-class tennis close-up, without any of the hassle, bother or crowds that come with venturing down the road to the grand dame of British tennis, otherwise known as Wimbledon. The phrase most often touted about here is “secret tennis,” and it’s really not far off the mark. This is the event that the other spectators don’t want you to find out about – but they’re only elusive because this is so exclusive.

Murray will be hoping to showcase the form that helped him win the most coveted trophy in British tennis, revealing that “playing at the Hurlingham Club last June was the perfect way for me to warm up for Wimbledon. It’s a great setting and I’m looking forward to playing again this year.” Fan favourite Andrew Castle re-iterated this, commenting that “[the Tennis Classic] is right before Wimbledon, so everybody wants practice on top-class grass courts – which these are!”

Alongside Murray, Tim Henman and Mark Philippoussis will also be putting in some court time – although the Aussie will surely be hoping he isn’t beset by the back injury that hampered his game against Henman at the Statoil Masters Tennis in January. Crowd favourite Mansour Bahrami will no doubt also be up to his usual tricks, confirming his “court jester” moniker. Guests can also expect the kind of VIP hospitality that the Hurlingham has become world-famous for. Let the secret tennis begin!

The BNP Paribas Tennis Classic runs from Tuesday 17th – Friday 20th June at the Hurlingham, Ranelagh Gardens, London, SW6 3PR. Packages are priced from £150 inc. VAT per person. For booking information, call 020 8233 5854 or go to www.BNPParibasTennisClassic.com.

Afternoon Tea With A Master Chocolatier By Fiona Sanderson

Paul A Young

With Easter just around the corner, chocoholics and those with a particularly sweet tooth look forward to their chocolate eggs! Now they can have real reason to rejoice, as master chocolatier Paul A. Young has created an exclusive chocolate-inspired afternoon tea at one of London’s top hotels, the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane. Young’s passion for his craft and cutting-edge creativity has deservedly led him to be ranked amongst the world’s best chocolate artisans and as such, he is a founding member of The Guild of Fine Chocolate.

Paul A Young Chocolate Pastry

Launching on Monday 14th April (just in time for Easter) in the stately home environment of the Park Room, the multi award-winning Young has creatively combined the finest chocolate with Grosvenor House’s traditional, award-winning afternoon tea. The Luxury Channel was invited along to try freshly-baked buttermilk scones with Devonshire clotted cream and Young’s sea salted caramel sauce – utterly delicious!

Scones

The chocolate twist to the afternoon tea continues as Young cleverly offsets Venezuelan chocolate with cucumber in the very classic cucumber sandwich. A tasty twist to your afternoon tea. We also enjoyed the Earl Grey Tea chocolate tart. Don’t forget the glass of champagne to go with it!

Paul A Young Afternoon Tea

Paul A Young Chocolate Inspired Afternoon Tea costs £39.50 per person and is available from 1pm – 6pm in The Park Room at Grosvenor House. For reservations call +44 (0) 20 7399 8452 or visit www.parkroom.co.uk. Those who want to further explore the magic of a master chocolatier can enjoy a stay at Grosvenor House with the “Paul A Young Adventures With Chocolate Package,” which includes an overnight stay with breakfast for two, afternoon tea for two, a signed copy of Paul’s award-winning book Adventures With Chocolate and a surprise chocolate treat during your stay. Rates start from £444 per night inc. VAT. To book, visit www.londongrosvenorhouse.co.uk.

Yacht Much By The Luxury Channel

With the weather warming up in the Mediterranean and preparations for the spring and summer events well underway, we take a look at the latest yachting news briefs….

Loro Piana

The Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous, a truly spectacular event epitomising “the Loro Piana lifestyle,” is a unique sailing competition that saw a total of 23 yachts battle it out in the waters off Virgin Gorda, part of the British Virgin Islands archipelago. After three days of picture-perfect sailing, Nilaya (Class A), Freya (Class B) and Moonbird (Class C) were crowned winners in their respective divisions.

Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta

Trinity Yachts

The fifth edition of the Hainan Rendezvous will be taking place from 27th – 30th March, welcoming a legion of high net worth elites to the docks of Sanya for the largest luxury yachting and lifestyle showcase in China. The largest yacht on display will be Lohengrin, measuring 49.10m. This custom-built superyacht was launched by Trinity Yachts in 2006 and will act as the flagship of the Chinese fleet.

Lohengrin

Lomond Yachts

Lomond Yachts’ Lady M was chosen to play the role of a well-known yacht from the 1990s, Nadine, and was used in the Leonardo DiCaprio film, The Wolf of Wall Street. Lady M’s classic design reflects the era well and she would have been considered one of the largest and most spectacular yachts on the market at that time. Lady M’s classic main salon and formal dining for ten set the tone for an elegant yachting experience. Honey-glazed maple joinery, rich fabrics and original artwork throughout the yacht create the ideal balance of style and serenity.

Lady M

Royal Caribbean

British chef Jamie Oliver and Royal Caribbean International have announced the opening of the first Jamie Oliver eaterie at sea. The company’s most innovative resort ships, Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, will feature a Jamie’s Italian restaurant. Oliver revealed he was “thrilled to debut my very first restaurants at sea on-board the new Quantum-class ships. Royal Caribben shares my approach to food and dining, which is to serve simple, fresh ingredients in a warm, inviting ambience. I couldn’t be more excited to bring my love of Italian cooking to their guests with Jamie’s Italian. It’s going to be brilliant!”

Jamie Oliver

Anouska Hempel

An elegant wooden sailing vessel from the past brought back to life by Anouska Hempel, Beluga One is now one of the most beautiful boats on the Mediterranean. She contains every hi-tech specification beneath the glow of her beautiful wooden surfaces, Vuitton trunks and cane shutters, whilst entertaining thirty to dinner is de rigeur. Beluga One has the languorous magic of an ancient Turkish gulet, reincarnated as if she had sailed in from a myth. Anouska Hempel’s designs are the realisation of fantasies, and her interior design of boats shows how innate economy of space and uncompromising performance can be allied with flawless elegance.

Beluga One

OceanStyle

OceanStyle has announced its appointment as central agent for the sale of Otam’s 30.5m Millennium. Available for delivery in 2015, the Otam Millennium is designed by an impressive team of industry leaders, including interiors by Achille Salvagni, who designed the world-famous interiors of the 70m Numpita. All of the design work has been undertaken in close co-operation with the technical and design department at Otam, and so Millenium represents both fine features and high performance – the perfect synthesis of sophistication and innovation.

Otam Millennium

Zuccon SuperYacht Design

Exactly one year after opening its doors, Zuccon SuperYacht Design is ready to amaze the superyacht market with an ambitious new design. In the wake of the launch of the ZSYD 90 and the ZSYD 92 in 2013, Zuccon International Project’s “SuperYacht” brand launches a new 55 metre yacht – the new ZSYD 55 Febo. At 55 metres long, with minimal lines, the simple design of this striking yacht looks as if it’s intended for speed and high performance. But appearances can be deceptive, for the ZSYD 55 is precisely the opposite: a full displacement hull that travels at a leisurely pace and saves fuel, in line with the current trend of demand for low operating costs and fuel consumption.

Zuccon SuperYacht Design

Camper & Nicholsons

Camper & Nicholsons have announced Benetti has launched the Delfino hull no. 8 christened Mister Z, boasting the highest technical specification to date and built for a first time Belgian owner with considerable experience from years of extensive chartering. With all the features of a larger super yacht yet still of a size where he could comfortably drive it himself, Mister Z has been equipped for extended long periods of cruising with family, with the preference of anchorages instead of going from one marina to another. After having studied several other yachts, the Benetti Delfino proved to be the most suitable in her class combined with the pedigree and know-how of the yard.

Mister Z

Heesen Yachts

Heesen Yachts announced that the 65m Galactica Star was awarded the prestigious “Best of the Best” accolade by Robb Report China. This was Galactica Star’s fourth international recognition in a month, after receiving the Prix du Design from HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, the Nautilus award from Yacht Design Magazine and La Belle Classe from the Yacht Club de Monaco. In addition to the revolutionary technology, the jury was also impressed by the beauty and elegance of the exterior lines by Frank Laupman, perfectly complemented by the luxurious interior design by Bannenberg and Rowell.

Zhang Lan, owner of South Beauty Group, presents Heesen Yacjts' Regional Marketing Manager of China, Natalie Ye Jing, with the "Best of the Best" trophy (image courtesy of Robb Report China)

Zhang Lan, owner of South Beauty Group, presents Heesen Yacjts’ Regional Marketing Manager of China, Natalie Ye Jing, with the “Best of the Best” trophy (image courtesy of Robb Report China)

World Powerboat Championship

Finally, for those who are not partying all night, Ibiza is to host the Class 1 World Powerboat Championship. Ibiza is a new and exciting venue for this sport, joining Bulgaria, Italy and the UAE for the 2014 season, where the twin-engined raceboats of Class 1 – often thought of as the cousins of Formula 1 cars – can reach speeds in excess of 250kmph.

World Powerboat Championship

International Day At The Asia Cup Polo By The Luxury Channel

Asia Cup Polo Players

The Asia Cup Polo International Day, launched in London in 2007, is a high profile luxury lifestyle event attended by royalty, high net worth individuals and senior corporates. Maharaj Narendra Singh of Jaipur plays in the international matches giving Royal Patronage, and the event has subsequently become a key date in the summer social calendar. This year, International Day will be held on Saturday 21st June at Royal Berkshire Polo Club.

Programme For The Day

4.00 Cocktail & Canapé Reception
4.30 Ajit Singh Medtia Trophy Match
5.30 Asia Cup Polo International Match
7.00 Dinner
8.30 Fashion Show
9.00 Charity Auction (in aid of Help4Heroes)
10.00 After-Party

Asia Cup Polo

VIP Hospitality Package

– Reserved seating in the luxury themed Royal Enclosure VIP marquee
– Champagne reception & canapés upon arrival by The Painted Heron
– Sumptuous three-course meal by The Painted Heron with wine
– Fashion show & entertainment
– Private cash bar
– Ambient outside chill-out area
– Excellent view of the polo in reserved grandstand
– Complimentary programmes
– Secure reserved VIP parking places

A table of 10 is £2000 + VAT, and the price per person is £200 + VAT. To book your VIP tickets in the Royal Enclosure, please contact Renu Sen:

Tel: +44 (0)870 404 4100
E-Mail: renu@celebrasian.co.uk

The Nth Degree’s Annual VIP Weekend At Monaco Grand Prix By The Luxury Channel

Monaco

Experience all the racing glamour and of the Monaco Grand Prix on board the Nth Degree’s luxury yacht, moored on the marina just metres away from the F1 action, and enjoy the best fine dining experiences that Monaco has to offer.

With outstanding hospitality in an unrivalled trackside position, the VIP package at the Monaco Grand Prix is an annual highlight of the Nth Degree Club’s events calendar.

Your Nth Degree VIP Package will include:

– Prime spectator position on board a 40m+ luxury super yacht
– Speedboat transfers from Fontvielle Harbour
– Pre-race Q&A with a F1 celebrity
– All day complimentary premium brand champagne bar
– Breakfast buffet and pre-lunch canapés
– Gourmet luncheon
– Superb views of the world’s most famous F1 street circuit
– Accommodation options
– Luxury accommodation, supercar hire, helicopter transfers and airport transfers can also be arranged at an additional cost

Rates And Dates

Thursday 22nd May – £750
Friday 23rd May – £750
Saturday 24th May – £1980
Sunday 25th May – £2890

For more information, please contact india@thenthdegreeclub.com or jessieg@thenthdegreeclub.com, quoting “The Luxury Channel.” For more information about The Nth Degree Club, please go to www.thenthdegreeclub.com.

Playground of The Stars Welcomes Hollywood Music Nights By Jayjay Epega

Image courtesy of Thompson Hotels

Image courtesy of Thompson Hotels

The fabled Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel will be the epicentre of the Music Industry this spring, when it plays host as the central location for one of the world’s most prestigious global entertainment events.

It is truly a beautiful venue with a veritable storied past, having been the location of the very first Academy Awards which took place in its Blossom Ballroom. Attracting Hollywood’s stars since it opened in 1927, the hotel offers a prime location along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, across from Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the Hollywood & Highland Center. It also features an elegant restaurant and bar in the majestic Spanish Colonial lobby, and the outdoor pool is famed for A-list parties and an underwater mural by David Hockney.

This April, it will be home to MUSEXPO 2014, the annual global music business and showcase event which will celebrate its 10th year. MUSEXPO will host 30 artists from 16 countries, bringing the US and global music communities together to do business and build international networks. This year, MUSEXPO honours Diane Warren as its International Music Person of the Year. Born Diane Eve Warren, the American songwriter’s compositions have received six Academy Award nominations, five Golden Globe nominations (including one win), and seven Grammy Award nominations (including one win). She has worked with the likes of Sir Elton John, Cher, Tina Turner, Bryan Adams, Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, Michael Bolton, Gloria Estefan, Aerosmith, KISS, Ricky Martin and Celine Dion. CNN Legend Larry King is also in the line up of guest speakers at the event.

Companies such as Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, Pepsi, Spotify, Nike, Coca-Cola, Shazam, YouTube, FOX, Universal Pictures and Microsoft – amongst many others – will be represented. In addition, the 5th Annual Global Synch & Brands Summit LA takes place at MUSEXPO with over 80 music supervisors, brands and ad agencies attending.

Sat Bisla, the Founder and President of A&R Worldwide/MUSEXPO told me in an exclusive interview that “on every level, I have always loved music and the people who create it, and developing the community has always been a passion of mine. The original aim at MUSEXPO was to bring together like-minded music fans and industry people.”

It is truly an event not to be missed, and what an opportunity to visit a beautiful Hollywood landmark in all its glory!

Snow, Sweat And Tears – The Battle of The Great Explorers By The Luxury Channel

The start of the Land Rover Discovery Adventure Challenge

Land Rover Discovery celebrated 25 years with a first-of-its-kind adventure challenge on Sunday 2nd March. Four of the world’s greatest explorers were brought together for an epic mountain adventure, competing against each other as they took part in the search for Land Rover’s Next Generation Explorer in the Discovery Adventure Challenge, mentoring four promising, young adventurers in a grueling six-part challenge.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Ben Saunders

Against a backdrop of snow and mountains in Megève, France, The Discovery Adventure Challenge pushed competitors to the limit over 24 hours of tense, testing tasks. Ben Saunders (above right), who, with partner Tarka L’Herpiniere, recently became the first man ever to complete Scott’s notorious Terra Nova Expedition, compered the competition that saw Sir Ranulph Fiennes (above left), Hannah White, Kenton Cool (pictured below) and Eric Loizeau get fiercely competitive as they went head to head in the challenges.

Kenton Cool

The challenges involved:
1) Two Land Rover Discovery XXVs competing side-by-side through a slalom course down the slope in two tense heats, culminating in a final race.
2) Testing precision and speed, one team member had to drive a Land Rover Discovery XXV around a purpose-built course, whilst the other played marksman, shooting a laser gun at a variety of challenging targets.
3) Physical stamina was put to the test in this grueling task – pulling one of Ben Saunders’ sleds in a race against time.
4) As night fell, the contestants were tasked with creating a fire from scratch and digging their own snow holes to sleep in. Points were awarded for fastest build and warmest hole.
5) The grand finale was a spectacular all-out skiff race across Lake Geneva.

Alex Woodford

After battling 24 hours of snow, sweat and tears in the mountains of Megeve and having her physical and mental aptitudes tested to their limits, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Bear Grylls crowned Land Rover’s Next Generation Explorer as 22 year old Alex Woodford (above) from Leicestershire. Grylls will now mentor Woodford, a member of the British Exploring Society, as her prize. She was chosen unanimously by the judges after displaying strength, technique and courage throughout the challenges. Woodford said of her win: “I can’t describe how incredibly excited I am to have received the accolade of Land Rover Next Generation Explorer. It was an honour just to tackle the challenges alongside such iconic adventurers as Ranulph and Ben, let alone be selected by them. I am incredibly proud and can’t wait to get started on my next challenge.”

Q By Aston Martin – For Your Eyes Only By The Luxury Channel

Q By Aston Martin

Aston Martin arrives at the 84th Geneva International Motor Show with its most compelling bespoke sports car creations to date, courtesy of its increasingly popular tailor-made personalisation service: Q by Aston Martin.

The great British sports car brand is showcasing the capabilities of its bespoke service in Switzerland, as more and more of its customers around the world are turning to the facility to make their Aston Martin a truly unique creation.

Q By Aston Martin

The concept of Q by Aston Martin is as simple as it is ambitious – customers engaging with the service are encouraged to challenge the team to make their automotive dreams reality.

From the simplest colour or trim amendment to wildly ambitious one-off car commissions – such as last year’s CC100 Speedster Concept, which began life as a pure concept but, thanks to the Q by Aston Martin team, ended the year as a brace of tailor-made cars for Aston Martin enthusiasts – the personalisation service is inspiring its customers to let their imaginations soar.

Two examples of what can be offered will be on show in Switzerland: a Q by Aston Martin V12 Vantage S, and a Q by Aston Martin Vanquish Volante. The two cars are set to feature contrasting levels of personalisation in a bid to show the team’s breadth of creativity and capability.

Q By Aston Martin

The numerous Q by Aston Martin details underline that this is truly a unique and ultimately luxurious Vanquish for the most demanding, and discerning, of customers. Meanwhile the extreme new V12 Vantage S, Aston Martin’s fastest production model since the exclusive One-77, fittingly has a more extreme treatment by Q’s designers. A bold paint scheme, including the thoughtful application of track-inspired vibrant Orange to contrast the Stratus White base colour and Jet Black roof, are mixed with vibrant leathers inside to create a car that looks almost as thrilling standing still as it is on the move.

Q By Aston Martin

Aston Martin Design Director, Marek Reichman, and his team are intimately involved in the personalisation process. He explained that “Q by Aston Martin is really all about freedom – the freedom to work with us here at our Gaydon headquarters to create something really special, something that uniquely demonstrates a customer’s attitude, their personality and their taste.”

To further customise your Aston, we like Silver By Aston Martin. We also got behind the wheel to test drive a few models – read our article here.

The Legacy of Oscar By Jayjay Epega

The Oscars (image courtesy of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)

The Oscars (image courtesy of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)

“I will use the hope of getting an Academy Award a) to honour the people who work so hard and also b) it’s the greatest Good Housekeeping seal in the world. It’s the greatest brand. It’s as good as Louis Vuitton and Dior in the world of movie-making. It’s the Super Bowl.” – Harvey Weinstein

Far from the eagerly anticipated and globally televised event it is today, the first Academy Awards ceremony – a simple black-tie dinner – was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on May 16th 1929. Fifteen statuettes were awarded for cinematic achievements. The first Best Actor winner was acclaimed German American Emil Jannings, who had to return to Europe before the event. The Academy granted his request to receive the trophy early, making his statuette the very first Academy Award ever presented.

About two hundred and fifty people attended the dinner in the hotel’s Blossom Room, with guest tickets costing just $5. The event was held to honour films made from the beginning of August 1927 to the end of July 1928. There was no suspense to the announcement of winners in the five minute ceremony hosted by Douglas Fairbanks, as they had been named three months earlier.

Recognizing the need to honour achievements that didn’t fit into fixed categories, the Academy also presented two special awards at the very first ceremony in 1929: one to Warner Brothers for producing the pioneering “talkie picture” The Jazz Singer, and one to Charlie Chaplin for producing, directing, writing and starring in The Circus. Janet Gaynor was the first woman to receive an Academy Award for Best Actress, and the only woman to do so that night.

Douglas Fairbanks presents Janet Gaynor with the first Best Actress Oscar (image courtesy of  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)

Douglas Fairbanks presents Janet Gaynor with the first Best Actress Oscar (image courtesy of
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)

Only three times in its history has the Academy Awards failed to take place as scheduled. The first was in 1938, when massive flooding in Los Angeles delayed the ceremony for a week. In 1968, the Awards ceremony was postponed from April 8th to April 10th out of respect for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who had been assassinated a few days earlier, and whose funeral was held on April 9th. In 1981, the Awards were once again postponed, this time for 24 hours because of the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.

2014’s eagerly anticipated ceremony is filled with some stand-out nominations in superb movies like American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street, 12 Years A Slave, Captain Phillips and Dallas Buyers Club. I caught up with one of the Best Supporting Actor nominees, Michael Fassbender, who had this to say about his brilliant, sadistic but very nuanced performance in 12 Years A Slave, playing the flawed Edwin Epps: “I just tried to find a human being there, as opposed to some evil plantation owner. This is complex, this sort of relationship. Obviously, being a slave is the worst deal. You get whipped and beaten and suppressed every day, but the suppressor is also going to be affected by that. So how does that affect the person administering all this pain and suffering? He’s a human being who’s caught up in something so complicated and so unjust. I always thought of Epps as a boil on the skin of society, representing how damaged the whole society was.”

Michael Fassbender as Edwin Epps (image courtesy of Regency Enterprises, Film4 Productions,  Plan B Entertainment and Summit Entertainment)

Michael Fassbender as Edwin Epps (image courtesy of Regency Enterprises, Film4 Productions,
Plan B Entertainment and Summit Entertainment)

He lies in competition in his category with some of the industry’s finest that includes Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips, Bradley Cooper in American Hustle, Jonah Hill in The Wolf of Wall Street and Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club.

The Oscar is an honour that shouts success to the world, and gives the ultimate seal of industry approval, indeed the pinnacle of any acting career. The legacy of this all-powerful award lives on. What a night….the stars never shine brighter.

Meetings In Marrakech: The Paintings of Hassan El Glaoui And Sir Winston Churchill By The Luxury Channel

La Mamounia Hotel

The world famous La Mamounia Hotel in Marrakech will host a very special exhibition from 20th February – 3rd March 2014. The unique showcase features seventeen paintings by Hassan El Glaoui (most of which have never been seen in Morocco) and eight by Sir Winston Churchill. It will be the first time Churchill’s paintings have been publically exhibited alongside other artist’s works. The exhibition opens to the public on February 20th 2014 and will be an opportunity to expose the enthusiasm these two artists expressed towards Morocco, and to present their shared story.

Sir Winston Churchill's Painting

It was only through Churchill’s intervention that Hassan El Glaoui, the young Berber tribesman, was permitted to professionally pursue his passion for painting at Les Beaux Arts in Paris, and he has since become one of Morocco’s most significant artists. Churchill, meanwhile, was an accomplished landscape painter who had first visited the Moroccan city of Marrakech in 1935. He developed a lasting affection for what he considered “one of the loveliest spots in the whole world,” and he would paint it frequently.

Sir Winston Churchill's Painting

For the first time in Morocco, and with the collaboration of Touria El Glaoui (Hassan El Glaoui’s daughter), La Mamounia has succeeded in its bid to organise this unique exhibition – which reveals some uncommon similarities amongst the two artists. This is set to be a stunning and exclusive exhibition that will both inspire and amaze.

La Mamounia Hotel

The Glaoui / Churchill exhibition will also coincide with the Marrakech Biennale, running from 26 February to 31 March, with both exhibitions seeking to build bridges between cultures through the arts. La Mamounia in particular is positioning the Glaoui / Churchill exhibition as a special engagement of two different cultures.

Meetings In Marrakech: The Paintings of Hassan El Glaoui And Sir Winston Churchill is open to public every day from February 20th to March 3rd 2014 from 10:30 am to 07:30 pm (except February 22nd: closing at 17:00).

A Chic Mix For The Womanity Foundation In Geneva By Rosalind Milani Gallieni

Yann Borgstedt and former Miss France, Mareva Galanter, launching the Hublot for Womanity watches at the Gala (image courtesy of Enzo Capaccio)

Yann Borgstedt and former Miss France, Mareva Galanter, launching the Hublot for Womanity watches at the Gala (image courtesy of Enzo Capaccio)

Geneva is where it’s at when it comes to The Womanity Foundation‘s seriously loyal supporters, friends and partners. For about an hour, a continuous influx of guests and sponsors heads to the Espace Hippomène, a cool, contemporary, industrial-style edifice built for cutting-edge exhibitions, congresses, and in this case, The Womanity Foundation’s bi-annual gala evening.

The front of house PR team, all multi-lingual, multi-tasking girls, seen earlier in the day running and planning the set up of this seamlessly Swiss mega-operation, whisper in my ear that they are expecting just over 1000 guests for this gala evening. Yann Borgstedt, the founder, is working his heavy-duty VIP guest list!

Yann Borgstedt with Licia Chery, after her live performance at the Womanity Gala (image courtesy of Enzo Capaccio)

Yann Borgstedt with Licia Chery, after her live performance at the Womanity Gala (image courtesy of Enzo Capaccio)

Louboutin, Gucci, Jimmy Choo….brands are de rigeur, and accessorise (very) short or (too) long dresses and skirts. The guys, every one of them handsome and of distinguished allure, file by, some in tuxedos, and others in sharp business suits. Two even cut a reckless dash in their tartan kilts. The dress-code is an elegant chic mix, classics of the international jet-set, who are down from their ski-piste chalets, to join Colin and Livia Firth for the vernissage of “Taste Contemporary Craft” at the gallery Blondeau & Cie, and get to this highly anticipated evening.

It’s the fifth gala for Yann, and his team once again has superseded itself. They have created a “fire and ice” themed décor; the all-white, igloo-style lobby is the Moët & Chandon reception space, with champagne flowing from white “ice” goblets, and fire and passion reigns in the dining room, where the highly anticipated auction and a healthy three-course dinner rolls out.

Through the Educate Girls project, The Womanity Foundation has created schools in India for women's and girls' education

Through the Educate Girls project, The Womanity Foundation has created schools in India for women’s and girls’ education

Founded in 2005, The Womanity Foundation runs a passionate mission in our world today, to school and educate young girls and women in their less privileged countries, namely India, Morocco, Afghanistan and Brazil. Providing and giving them access to better education also helps their professional formation. They help provide work, structure and opportunities for a career, a place and a voice in society, whilst also protecting their physical and psychological integrity. Yann’s interest in technology has taken his mission beyond the usual perimeters, to devise an important way of interacting within these communities by using live broadcast media. Mona Zaki, one of the major Arabic movie actresses, plays the character of Noha in “Worth 100 Men,” a radio fiction series broadcast throughout the Middle East and North Africa, including on radio NISAA, Womanity’s home-grown women’s radio. It is the very first of its kind and will be broadcasting 30 episodes telling stories about women on live radio, reaching into households and schools, via mobile devices.

Safeena Husain, founder and executive of Educate Girls in India, and Yann Borgstedt, founder of Womanity, address the 1000 plus guests at the gala (image courtesy of Enzo Capaccio)

Safeena Husain, founder and executive of Educate Girls in India, and Yann Borgstedt, founder of Womanity, address the 1000 plus guests at the gala (image courtesy of Enzo Capaccio)

Another Womanity project is “WomenChangeMakers,” which supports social entrepreneurs who work for women’s empowerment in India and Brazil. “Preventing violence towards women, developing their skills and encouraging them to participate actively in their society creates a fast-track to long-lasting improvement within their communities,” says Yann. “We will invest all our know-how, experiences and resources in the pursuit of these objectives, and we can prove that these types of benefits are investments that can be quantified thanks to the many studies we have carried out in this area.”

At the last gala in 2012, Womanity raised 1.35 million Swiss francs, and this year’s all-time record of over two million Swiss francs makes the many dreams Yann has in mind tangible. The auction lots on the fire-red, orchid-clad tables have been extraordinary: a couture hat by royal milliner Philip Treacy, a week’s holiday at the Zhiwa Ling in Bhutan, a tailoring experience with Marinella on the Amalfi coast, and many more.

The white croc leather 1958 Silver Cloud Rolls Royce customised by Jean-Claude Jitrois  (image courtesy of Enzo Capaccio)

The white croc leather 1958 Silver Cloud Rolls Royce customised by Jean-Claude Jitrois
(image courtesy of Enzo Capaccio)

As if these were not enough, Jean-Claude Jitrois is standing by a 1958 Silver Cloud Rolls Royce, which he has customised in white leather. There is a brand new FIAT 500 designed by Francesca Versace, who has naturally also joined the party. MV Augusta have donated a collector’s Rivale motorbike, there is a part to be bid for to be in Marc Forster’s next movie, a Smart car by Philippe Pasqua (who is at the gala), and lot no. 31 is Hublot’s. They unveil, alongside Mr. Jean-Claude Biver himself, a limited edition of men’s and women’s watches created especially for Womanity.

Simon du Pury rocks the auction lots with comedienne Pauline Lefevre, raising over two million Swiss francs (image courtesy of Enzo Capaccio)

Simon du Pury rocks the auction lots with comedienne Pauline Lefevre, raising over two million Swiss francs (image courtesy of Enzo Capaccio)

You just have to name the price, and Simon de Pury does a grand job of keeping over 1000 bidders wired while he works the important lots with the gorgeous Mareva Galanter, the former, delectable Miss France, who glitters in Chopard, while Caroline Scheufele looks on. Yann is already briefing plans for the next Gala in 2016; let’s see where he will stage such a success next time!

Ben Saunders Completes Captain Scott’s Iconic Polar Journey By The Luxury Channel

Scott Expedition

On Friday 7th February at 01.15am British polar explorers Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere re-wrote history as they completed, for the first time ever, the ill-fated journey of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s iconic Terra Nova expedition. Having trekked 1,795 miles across the inhospitable landscape of Antarctica on a journey to the South Pole and back, Ben and Tarka have achieved the world record for the longest polar journey on foot in history.

The journey, which has taken a total of 105 days (just over a quarter of a year!), has pushed the limits of physical and mental fortitude, and reset the bar for polar expeditions of the future. Ben and Tarka hauled sleds with a starting weight of almost 200kg each, and walked on average seventeen miles daily in temperatures as low as -46C.

Ben Saunders said, “It is almost impossible to comprehend what we have achieved. Completing Scott’s Terra Nova expedition has been a life-long dream and I’m overcome to be standing here at the finish. The journey has been a mammoth undertaking that has tested the bounds of our bodies and minds each and every day. At times, we found ourselves in dire straits in the intense cold, wind and altitude of the high plateau, weakened by half-rations and closer to the brink of survival than I had ever anticipated this journey taking us. In that light, both Tarka and I feel a combination of awe and profound respect for the endurance, tenacity and fortitude of Captain Scott and his team a century ago.”

Tarka & Ben

Captain Scott and his men died having covered almost 1,600 miles and this feat had not been surpassed in over 100 years….until now.

Mark Cameron, Director of Brand Experience at Scott Expedition sponsors Jaguar Land Rover, said, “It has been a true privilege for Land Rover to have played a part in this incredible expedition. I have followed Ben and Tarka each day, trying in some small way to live the experience so vividly and eloquently described through Ben’s blog. To complete this journey has taken the very highest levels of physical and mental fortitude as well as a sheer determination to succeed. We all need heroes, incredible individuals or teams to provide inspiration to spur us on to achieve better for ourselves and the people around us. There are few feats of any description that exemplify more appropriately the Land Rover mantra of going Above And Beyond. Congratulations Ben and Tarka!”

Ten Ways To Celebrate The Year Of The Horse In The Royal Borough By The Luxury Channel

The Queen’s lifelong passion for horses is shared by many members of the Royal family through racing, polo, three-day eventing and carriage driving. In 2014, The Royal Borough offers visitors ten memorable ways to celebrate the Year of the Horse, whether as spectators or participants…. 

Windsor Racecourse

Racing At Ascot

Synonymous with quality, style and excellence, Ascot welcomes over 500,000 race-goers a year, accounting for 10% of all UK racegoers. Five-day Royal Ascot is Britain’s most popular race meeting with over 285,000 visitors. It takes place during the third week in June and is steeped in tradition and pageantry. Ascot Racecourse also hosts jumps meetings from November to April.

Did You Know? Stewards wearing bowler hats is one of the endearing and defining sights of Ascot. However, the dress instruction met with near mutiny when introduced in the late 1950s. The trustees had to give pay rises at the time to prevent strike action.

Racing At Royal Windsor

A fabulous island location set in 165 acres of beautiful countryside on the banks of the River Thames, overlooked by Windsor Castle. Flat racing takes place from April to October with regular Monday evening fixtures and themed nights during the summer. You can even arrive by boat.

Did You Know? Royal Windsor is one of only two figure-of-eight courses in the United Kingdom (the other is Fontwell Park).

Watching Polo

Polo features heavily in the Borough’s sporting calendar at local clubs Guards Polo, Ascot Park and Coworth Park. The fixture list usually runs from April to September. The Royal Borough hosts polo matches at Smith Lawns, Royal Berkshire and Coworth Park, and features the world’s top professionals and plenty of opportunities to take part in half time “divot stamping.”

Did You Know? Polo must be played right-handed, and teams change direction of play after each goal.

Visiting Smith’s Lawn

Smith’s Lawn in Windsor Great Park is one of Europe’s foremost destinations to watch polo. The Light Cavalry supply mounted and dismounted guards at matches held during summer months, with polo chukkas taking place most days from April to September for national and international teams to compete in.

Did You Know? Smith’s Lawn is Europe’s largest area dedicated to playing polo.

Attending Guards Polo Academy

Playing members of Guards Polo Academy and guests of Coworth Park have the opportunity to learn and train with Andrew Hine, one of the most experienced players of the game. Andrew’s team, which includes several leading polo coaches, offer the highest polo tuition to members of Guards Polo Club and will also introduce the sport of polo to non-players through the Academy’s corporate and private leisure polo days.

Did You Know? Coworth Park is the only hotel in the UK that provides its own polo fields and practice facilities.

Walking To The Copper Horse

There are three equestrian statues erected in Windsor Great Park. At the southern end of the Long Walk on top of Snow Hill is the Copper Horse, a statue depicting King George III as Roman Emperor, hence no stirrups. The second statue depicts Prince Albert, and overlooks Smiths Lawn. The third shows Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on horseback and sits at the southern end of Queen Anne’s Ride. Commissioned to commemorate her Golden Jubilee, the artist was Phillip Jackson.

Did You Know? The Copper Horse was made of 25 tons of melted brass cannons, and sixteen workmen squeezed inside it to sing God Save The King.

Windsor Castle

Riding In A Carriage

Experience the Royal Borough from the comfort of a horse-drawn carriage. Two companies operate rides: Orchard Poyle covering Windsor town centre and The Long Walk, and Ascot Carriages covering Windsor Great Park from The Savill Garden. Both companies provide knee rugs and umbrellas in case of chilly weather or showers, and offer rides of 30 minutes to 90 minutes duration.

Did You Know? The carriages frequently star in private events like romantic proposals, weddings and films.

Enjoying The Royal Windsor Horse Show

The UK’s biggest outdoor horse show involves 3,000 competing horses for International Carriage Driving, Showing, Equestrian Display, International Endurance and First Class Jumping. Set in the private grounds of Windsor Castle, the event includes arena displays and activities, and is patronised by Her Majesty The Queen.

Did You Know: An annual highlight is the Shetland Pony Grand National.

Attending Cartier Queen’s Cup Polo

Guards’ Polo Club at Smith’s Lawn hosts one of the world’s greatest spectator polo days and is a ‘must’ in the UK social event calendar, where English society and royalty mix with Hollywood film stars and global music icons. The Cartier Queen’s Cup attracts the sport’s leading players from across the globe and the team sheet always reads like a “who’s who” of polo.

Did You Know? When the Queen attends Guards Club, the Royal Standard flies from the top of the pavilion.

Attending Royal Ascot

Few sporting venues match the 250 year heritage and history of Ascot Racecourse. Tradition, pageantry, fashion and style place Royal Ascot at the centre of the British social calendar and, with £4.5 million in prize money at stake, it is the ultimate stage for the world’s best racehorses. Each day, The Royal Procession makes its way from the Golden Gates along the racecourse and into the Parade Ring. The first race of six each day is at 2.30pm and the last race is at 5.35pm, after which racegoers celebrate their winnings singing around the bandstand.

Did You Know? Each day, the bookmakers take bets on the colour of the Queen’s hat.

The American Express World Luxury Expo Returns To Riyadh By The Luxury Channel

The palatial Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh

The palatial Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh

The American Express World Luxury Expo returns to the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh from 28-30 January 2014, and invited guests can look forward to a wide variety of opulent hospitality on offer. The highly anticipated three day event is title sponsored by American Express and held in association with The Saudi Investment Bank. Selected luxury brands and services from a broad selection of luxury categories will be showcased to a highly discerning group of VIP guests. Whilst enjoying the event, invited guests can look forward to sampling the finest caviar, chocolates, canapés and other gourmet delights on display.

Nizar Abou Hassan, Director of Premium Products Management at American Express Saudi Arabia Limited, said “Our promise to deliver service excellence and world class experiences are showcased in our renewed commitment to supporting the World Luxury Expo in 2014. We also look forward to welcoming our local and international luxury brand partners who will be exhibiting a selection of their most prestigious and exclusive products in one spectacular venue.”

The lobby at the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh

The lobby at the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh

The World Luxury Expo features carefully selected exhibitors from luxury categories including fine art, hand-crafted time pieces, high-end jewellery, designer fashion, designer furniture, exquisite table settings, fine dining, luxury sports cars and luxury travel. All participating exhibitors are recognised within their respective fields, showcasing superior quality and craftsmanship.

Following the exposé in Riyadh, World Luxury Expo will continue to Jeddah in March, followed by Bahrain, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Doha, creating an on-going annual signature series of events in the GCC region.

The Scott Expedition Receives Royal Honour By The Luxury Channel

Prince Harry before departing for the South Pole Allied Challenge

Prince Harry before departing for the South Pole Allied Challenge

Prince Harry – not long returned from an Antarctic expedition of his own – honours Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpinere as they step into the final stage of the Scott Expedition with a personal message….

As Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere step into the final stage of their 1800 mile journey on foot from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back, they are honoured to have received a personal message from Prince Harry. The message was received as the duo commemorated the anniversary of Captain Scott and his Polar Party reaching the South Pole just over a century ago.

Captain Scott and his men at the South Pole

Captain Scott and his men at the South Pole

In his blog, Ben said, “We’ve received a message from His Royal Highness Prince Harry. It made our day here in Antarctica. I hope he won’t mind me quoting it below and I’m deeply honoured that he’s among the people following our journey.”

“One hundred and two years ago today Captain Scott reached the South Pole. As his expedition tragically demonstrated, such a trek sits at the very limit of human endeavour. You’re well on your way to completing what Scott attempted; I wish you both the very best of luck for the rest of your journey. You guys will be an inspiration to the next generation as Scott has been to this.” Prince Harry.

Ben and Tarka set out from Scott’s Terra Nova Hut on 25th October 2013 on an 1800 mile journey to the South Pole and back, hauling up to 200kg of weight in their sleds and covering on average of 16 miles per day – although the longest day to date is nearly 36 miles. So far they have covered a staggering 1,400 miles on foot from the coast to the South Pole and part of the way back in 90 days, experiencing temperatures down to almost -50C with wind-chill. They are due to reach the coast in early February.

Ben Saunders and Tarka L'Herpiniere make their own mark at the South Pole

Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere make their own mark at the South Pole

The journey has pushed both Ben and Tarka to their very limits. They are now operating on simply the 6,000 calories they consume daily with no fat left on their bodies to supplement their daily intake. “We’re both hungrier than ever, which I wasn’t expecting after the amount we refuelled following our resupply, but I suspect our bodies have so little fat or superfluous muscle they can turn into fuel that we’re almost totally reliant on what we eat to keep us going now. Tarka commented today that dragging a sledge full of food around and yet being hungry all day is a pretty effective form of torture,” Ben said.

Follow the remainder of Ben and Tarka’s journey across the Antarctic ice by clicking here. Watch our interview with Ben here. Alternatively, you can support this epic journey by sponsoring a mile.

Predicting Luxury Travel Trends For 2014 – A Survey By The American Affluence Research Center By Peter Bates

The beachside pool at Rosewood Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Mexico.

The beachside pool at Rosewood Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Mexico.

Once again, Strategic Vision has sponsored the American Affluence Research Center’s (AARC) Affluent Market Tracking Study, a survey of the wealthiest 10% of households determined by the Federal Reserve Board based on net worth. I continue to advocate the importance of this kind of research and data collection for industry leaders to gain insights and implement effective marketing strategy in the luxury travel arena.

The survey is based on a self-administered questionnaire mailed to a randomly selected national sample of 4,500 households expected to meet the minimum net worth requirement of $800,000. Following a weighting of respondents, the participants have an average residence value of $1.3 million, an average household income of $295,000, and an average net worth of $3.1 million. Read on for their valuable insights….

Booking Leisure Travel – Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) Or Traditional Travel Advisors?

In this flourishing digital culture, we all know that leisure travelers increasingly use their computers and mobile devices to book travel. While the growth of OTAs is undeniable, the number of those surveyed who continue to work with travel advisors or make a direct call to a branded entity (airline or hotel) still outweighs use of OTAs when combined.

Opportunity For Travel Advisor Growth

The research found that a remarkable 66% of those surveyed rely on an advisor or reach out to a major brand when booking leisure travel, and the ability for affluent travelers to make a direct connection is still an appealing influencer.

When asked if they had employed a traditional travel agency to book leisure travel in the past year, 23% of respondents said they had. And 20% of those surveyed said a traditional travel agency was the choice they used most often for booking travel.

Forty-three per cent answered that they book directly by calling airlines or hotels, or using their websites. Of those who book in this way, 30% were under age 50. As a young travel advisor recently told me, “There is so much information out there through OTAs and online resources, the agent becomes the editor/navigator for the client.”

After 90 years, Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland welcomes back many repeat visitors to its gracious, classic surroundings with state-of-the-art spa and leisure facilities.

After 90 years, Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland welcomes back many repeat visitors to its gracious, classic surroundings with state-of-the-art spa and leisure facilities.

Are Hotel Loyalty Programs Important?

Marketing and branding strategies necessarily adjust with the changing times and consumer habits. In this mobile-driven and online booking climate, a significant number of affluent travelers trend toward brand loyalty in the hotel category. In the American Affluence survey, 63% of those responding said that hotel loyalty programs are either very or somewhat important. Of total respondents, 52% said they were members of Marriott Rewards, 45% joined Hilton Honors, and 32% belonged to Starwood’s program.

Overall, the responses of high net worth consumers to survey questions regarding leisure travel booking offer encouraging numbers and promising opportunities for travel advisors to expand their client base as affluent travelers seek a connection and strong brand direction.

Cautious Optimism Looking Forward

As 2014 begins and consumers look ahead, a few interesting findings of the American Affluence survey are worth considering:

• The affluent seem to have a slightly better outlook for the economy and their personal wealth than the general public. Almost a third expect their net worth to be higher in March 2014.

• The new research reveals a significant 7 point improvement among those surveyed who said they planned to defer or reduce expenditures in the coming 12 months. Only 37% said they would cut back this year as opposed to 44% of affluent respondents in Spring 2013 – a forecasting of positive spending trends as we enter 2014.

• An encouraging mood and spending plans of the affluent may be carrying through the new year with the stock market hitting record highs on Christmas Eve – 2014 is a year to watch.

For further information, visit www.luxurybeat.com.

‘Tis The Season of Winter Balls By Martina O'Boyle

Vienna Ball

With five Michelin-starred restaurants, VIP service at the Vienna airport and business-friendly luxury hotels such as the Palais Coburg, Hotel Sacher and the architectural marvel of the Levant Parliament, Vienna is a luxury destination for both the business and private traveler (see www.wien.info). The city was the host of the FT Business of Luxury Summit 2013, at which The Luxury Channel spoke to Massimo Ferragamo. There is a saying, however, about all work and no play, and it is the winter season when Vienna really kicks its heels up….

The year was 1969. Aurelia Huber remembers her dress was pale blue Dupioni silk, with three under layers to the skirt and beading along the collar. Her hair was piled very high, and she laughs recalling the inordinate amount of hairspray her aunt, a hairdresser, used to secure it for a night of dancing. The final touch was an heirloom necklace containing 12 Burmese rubies, which had been retrieved from the safe for that evening’s occasion. Only the best when one is attending the Vienna Opera Ball!

For the fortunate ones in or travelling to Vienna, the season of the winter balls is upon us, and as the days reach their shortest and the holiday lights twinkle, the city becomes magical. From late December through March, the majority, and the most extravagant, of over 300 annual balls will take place.

Aurelia Huber (who at this year’s Opera Ball will be celebrating her 75th birthday) was 30 when she attended her first Opera Ball. “It was a treat for my birthday, and our tenth wedding anniversary. My husband worked for one of the companies that was doing something with the event, and, well, I still don’t know how he obtained those tickets. One doesn’t ask such things – why ruin the secret?”

Aurelia

Aurelia

Almost all of the balls are open to the public, each attracting between 200 and over 5,000 guests. For the larger events, year-round organisation is required, taking place in accordance with traditional rules and hierarchy, and the high-profile balls are normally under the patronage of the Federal President. A coveted pamphlet gives the date and venue, dress code, program and, of course, the admission charge. The loges, or private boxes, at the Opera Ball cost between 9,000 and 18,500 Euros, and they are highly sought after. The other prestigious balls, such as those held in the Hofburg Imperial Palace, are somewhat less costly.

The first major Ball of the season, The Imperial Ball, will have taken place on New Year’s Eve at the Hofburg, and the last of the great traditional Balls, organized by the couleur-wearing fraternity Rudolfin, will be held on March 5th, on the last Monday before Ash Wednesday. It’s worth noting that the Rudolfina Redoute, named for the 14th century Duke that founded Vienna University, is the only surviving Masked Ball of the many that used to take place.

FASHION

Looking the part during the season is not just a matter of style – the right clothing is mandatory, down to the accessories. No matter how hip the Viennese look during the year, they tend to go very traditional for the ball season, and if the evening calls for something slightly ostentatious that one wouldn’t wear more than once….well, hiring a gown is certainly not looked down upon. If hiring, the earlier the better. Reservations for designer and period gowns and tailcoats are made months in advance.

Ladies wear a formal floor-length dress – cocktail-length dresses are not permitted – with enough skirt to allow free movement of the legs and give spectators the lovely vision of swirling dresses during the waltzes. Unless the lady is one of the Cotillion, her dress should not be pure white. It is also traditional for women to wear opera-length gloves, and leather-soled, medium to low-heeled shoes are recommended.

Vienna Ball Debutantes

Aurelia still has the white silk dress she had made for the event. “Traditionally the younger ladies wore white, the debutantes, but by 1969, I was older, the fashions had changed and there were all sorts of colours, mod fashions. I chose white and blue, to be more classic, but everyone was so elegant. My dress was by a designer called George Halley. I bought it in New York, because I was nervous about wearing the same frock as anyone else!”

For gentlemen, a tuxedo is the starting point, with attendees of the Opera Ball held to an even higher standard. It is advisable to consult the Ball Guide Dress Code for the finicky particulars on the correct types of suit, cummerbund and timepiece (one valuable hint: go sans wristwatch). Gentlemen looking for something more traditional or Tyrolian can arrange an appointment at Tostman Trachten.

HISTORY OF THE OPERA BALL

In addition to the dress code and the hundreds of palms and lilacs found on the magnificent staircase, one of the things that makes the Vienna Opera Ball unique is the glorious combination of all the best of old and new – the latest fashions, social trends and international guests combining with the best families of Austria, with hundreds of years old traditions, classic music; the result is a thoroughly modern stage management of a traditional event.

Various balls, in both small and large establishments, were held in Vienna in the early 1800s. Evenings grew larger, and more opulent, moving from street dancing to bigger dance halls and on to more beautiful venues such as the Imperial Palace. Occasionally, history got in the way, and the Season was suspended. The revolution of 1848 and the demise of the Habsburg monarchy in 1918 were two times that the nation paused in their dancing, but not for very long. The first Opera Ball of the new Republic of Austria was held in 1921, and in January 1935, the newly christened Vienna Opera Ball took place. Politics and war soon took precedence again and on the eve of the Second World War, a final Opera Ball took place in 1939, by command of the government of the Reich in now-occupied Austria.

Vienna Ball

It was not until February 1956 that the tradition was resumed in the beautifully rebuilt State Opera House. Since then, the Opera Ball has been an act of state: every year Parliament declares the event the official “Ball of the Republic” and it is transmitted on television by the Austrian Public Broadcaster ORF to an audience of millions.

The Opera Ball is an extremely popular event where cultural icons from all over the world come together to mingle with luminaries like the President and the Chancellor of Austria. One of the other regular attendees to the evening is the Austrian entrepreneur Richard Lugner, who captures some attention each year with his selection of a famous (or infamous) celebrity to join his private box for the evening. In the past, he has paid for the company of people like Roger Moore, Faye Dunaway and Paris Hilton.

Desirée Treichl-Stürgkh has been organizing the amazing logistics of this event since 2008. “The Vienna Opera Ball is and has been our state ball,” she says. “However, at the same time, it has always been a mirror of its time. Be it art, culture, politics, economy or fashion, we can read a lot from its images. It perfectly reflects the year we live in.”

ATTENDING A BALL

A typical ball evening begins with dinner, as one must fuel-up for a late night of dancing. Most guests head to the ball venue around 7:30 pm, if they choose to see the opening ceremony, but according to Aurelia, the veterans of the Season will occasionally skip the ceremony and arrive at 11 or so, when the evening is in full swing. The level of pomp and circumstance varies from ball to ball.

The opening ceremony of the Vienna Opera Ball is always organised by the dancing and etiquette school Elmayer, and it is a sight to behold, as the beautiful debutants of the season go through choreographed steps in their white dresses. Once the ceremonies are completed, the ball begins.

Vienna Ball

The highlight of the dancing comes at midnight with the quadrille, a tradition since the 19th century. To assist the pairs and groups through this rather complicated dance, a dance master will first explain the procedure and then call out instructions, often leading to improvisation from the inexperienced, and good-natured confusion and laughter from the entire floor. The grandson of the Elmayer School’s founder, Thomas Schäfer-Elmayer, is the very popular dance master at one of the most prestigious balls, the Vienna Coffeegrowers’ Ball. Professor Schäfer-Elmayer will be organising the opening ceremonies as well as calling the quadrille at his 26th Kaffeesiederball.

The dancing at these evenings is not just traditional – while not exactly a disco, in the later hours of the evening, you will hear more modern music and the general party atmosphere grows. Buffets abound and champagne flows as the hours pass and the festivities continue, until 4 or 5am. At some affairs, the exit doors are staffed with gift distributors handing out Damenspende. A tradition dating from the first half of the 19th century, this is a token gift presented to the ladies. In the days of the monarchy, this might have been an elaborately crafted bijou such as a ornate or imported fan. Today, one’s companion might receive an ornament, Austrian chocolates, or even, as in the early days, an artistically designed dance card, upon which gentleman traditionally reserved his dance. Some balls also have a Herrenspende, so the men are not left wanting.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SEASON

Vienna Philharmonic Ball: 23rd January
Location: Vienna Musikverein
Tickets: start at 150 Euros
E-mail: ball@wienerphilharmoniker.at
www.wienerphilharmoniker.at

Johann Strauss Ball: 15th February
Location: Vienna Kursalon
Tickets: 137 Euros
Tel: +43 1 512 57 90
www.soundofvienna.at

Russian Ball Vienna: 19th February
Location: Imperial Palace, Hofburg
Tickets: 500 to 1,000 Euros
E-mail: nat.h@utanet.at
www.russianball.info

Ball of the Vienna Coffeebrewers: 21st February
Location: Imperial Palace and Redoutensaele
Tickets: start from 125 Euros
Tel: +43 1 51 450 4112
www.kaffeesiederball.at

The Vienna Opera Ball: 27th February
Location: Vienna State Opera
Tel: +43 (1) 514 44 2606
www.wiener-staatsoper.at

Bonbon Ball: 28th February
Location: Vienna Concert Hall
Tickets: around 85 Euros
Tel: +43 1 214 35 02
www.bonbonball.at

Rudolfina Redoute Ball: 3rd March
Location: Imperial Palace, Hofburg
Tickets: around 80 Euros
Tel: +43 1 405 48 11 20
www.rudolfina.at

Life Ball: 31st May
Location: City Hall
E-Mail: curt.shertzer@lifeball.org
www.lifeball.org

It’s A Wrap! By Hannah Norman

Feeling the cold? Well, think of the designers working in sub zero degrees, battling with tons of ice….all in the name of art.

The Harbin International Ice & Snow Festival

The Harbin International Ice & Snow Festival

Now in its 30th year, China hosts the Harbin International Ice & Snow Festival, which runs until February (or at least, until the spectacular display melts away). Ablaze with lights, the seemingly impossible displays this year feature impressive towering arches and, erm, plastic ducks, like you do!

The Harbin International Ice & Snow Festival

The Harbin International Ice & Snow Festival

On the other side of the world, The London Ice Sculpting Festival runs from 10th – 12th January, with three competitions organized for entrant teams from across the world to flex their icy muscles. The Big Block competition is always something of a crowd-pleaser, and in case you’re wondering, the theme this year is “Fabulous Fashion.” Look out, London Fashion Week!

Fedeli

Fedeli

To keep the chills at bay if you’re heading down to any of the upcoming ice festivals around the globe (or if you’re simply heading out!), we recommend you wrap up warm in the finest winter woolies. See our pick of the best below:

FEDELI:

www.fedelicashmere.com
Italian brand Fedeli mixes traditional yarns with more precious materials to create sumptuously soft cashmere clothing. Style meets practicality, with attention to detail paramount in every garment, and traditional sartorial taste is combined with contemporary, custom-cut cloths. We like!

Fedeli

Fedeli

LORO PIANA:

www.loropiana.com
A favourite of ours for many years now, and it really isn’t hard to see why. In addition to the ethical conscience that forms the cornerstone of Loro Piana, their clothes and bags are simply to die for. If you’re looking to dress to impress this winter, you can’t go too far wrong here.

MOU

www.mou-online.com
Of course, you can’t be warm without paying attention to your footwear. With brand fans including Hollywood A-listers Cameron Diaz and Sarah Jessica Parker, these boots will ensure toasty tootsies all winter long. Luxurious hand-worked materials feature studs and beaded embellishments, reflecting the glimmer of ice and sun, and the brand has an ethical conscience too, through supporting the cultural traditions and sustainable way of life of the Sami tribes of the Arctic Circle.

Mou Classic Back Lace Boot

Mou Classic Back Lace Boot

What Is True Luxury? By Hannah Norman

The Luxury Channel attends a talk by Shelley Von Strunckel….

It was very appropriate that we should be sitting in Amanda Wakeley’s Chelsea store – one of London’s top designers – to hear astrologer Shelley Von Strunkel’s predictions for the Future of Luxury.

The Amanda Wakeley store in Chelsea

The Amanda Wakeley store in Chelsea

“The word ‘luxury’ evokes the caress of cashmere, the pop of a champagne cork, the glitter of diamonds,” she said. But, despite that, “as we enter a new era, the meaning of luxury is evolving,” she explained. So whilst the good news is that the glamour and elegance to which we are all accustomed will continue to play a big part of what we consider to be ‘luxury,’ there is now a new appreciation of what luxury truly encompasses – for instance, the idea of luxury meaning ‘to be pain-free,’ a luxury that most of us take for granted. Yet this is a relatively new luxury, as pain relief is only a little over 120 years old. Today, you can take a take a tablet, pop a pill or suck a lozenge and forget about having a headache or a sore throat, but 120 years ago, you simply suffered.

Astrologer Shelley Von Strunckel

Astrologer Shelley Von Strunckel

That isn’t to say that suffering doesn’t occur in the modern world. As Shelley pointed out, we have an increasing obsession with needing to know the latest news, and if you don’t know what’s happening, you run the risk of appearing ill-informed. Shelley went on to say that there is almost competitiveness in people to share the worst possible news, describing how people indulge in “moan fests.” A simple demonstration illustrated the physical effect that this negativity can have on the body – and subsequently on personal wellbeing. By holding an arm out, you can resist someone pushing down on it, but start dwelling on something negative that’s affecting your mindset, and your resistance entirely crumbles. Subsequently, rather than anaesthetising your mind to the stresses and strains of modern life, what you should do is “choose where you put your mind, so tough situations become stimulating challenges, not only to be overcome but to be learned from.”

Amanda Wakeley Zodiac Taurus Scarf

Amanda Wakeley Zodiac Taurus Scarf

Luxury, then, is the appreciation of the simple, not just the finer, things in life. Spending quality time with friends and family, or enjoying a beautiful meal – or even a beautiful garment (well, we were in the appropriate surroundings for this, after all!) “You should do things because of the pure pleasure of it,” Shelley encouraged. “The future of luxury is the experience not as an excuse, but as part of a life that, increasingly, you can craft consciously.” Take stock of everything you’ve achieved in life, and be glad. The future of luxury lies purely in the power of your mind.

Further Information

For more information about Shelley Von Strunckel and to book a personal astrological consultation, visit www.shelleyvonstrunckel.com or e-mail info@shelleyvonstrunckel.com.
To shop at Amanda Wakeley, visit www.amandawakeley.com, or click here to purchase any of the Amanda Wakeley Zodiac Scarves (the Taurus scarf is pictured above). The Luxury Channel visited the Chelsea store at 175 – 177 Fulham Road, London SW3 6JW.

Statoil Masters Tennis – Where Champions Become Legends By Hannah Norman

It’s not every day that you are lucky enough to see six of the greatest tennis stars battle it out for victory, particularly in one of London’s greatest venues – The Royal Albert Hall. As a guest of the organisers, The Luxury Channel was kindly invited to join them.

British sports stars from all competitions – Sir Steve Redgrave and Katherine Grainger among them – turned out in force for the Statoil Masters Tennis. Part of the ATP Champions Tour, the Masters Tennis sees a roster of former tennis stars compete against each other. The rules for entry are simple – players must have been ranked number one in the world, played in a Grand Slam singles final or been a Davis Cup winner.

Tim Henman, Mark Philippoussis and  Andrew Castle

Tim Henman, Mark Philippoussis and
Andrew Castle

First up was British tennis champ Tim Henman, taking on Aussie Mark Philippoussis. With the Ashes tests simultaneously taking place, there was a lot riding on the match – national as well as personal pride! After Henman quickly gained an upper hand in the first few games, it was clear Philippoussis had got himself into a spot of trouble, as his back gave way. Whilst the ladies of the audience stole surreptitious glances in his direction as he was back massaged courtside, Henman clearly saw no reason to stop play, and got the ball girls involved in a brief knock-about, much to their evident astonishment.

The doubles match of the night was between Greg Rusedski and Jamie Murray (apparently, he has a famous brother), and Pat Rafter and court jester Mansour Bahrami. Well-known in tennis circles for his seemingly impossible trick shots, Bahrami certainly didn’t disappoint, and whilst the tennis legends of old will be only too familiar with the nature of his shots (Jeremy Bates, for instance, credits every game he’s ever played with or against the Iran-born star as his best memory of the Statoil Masters Tennis), Murray was clearly entering unchartered waters, but responded with some brilliant shots of his own. Future cleaners at the Royal Albert Hall beware, however – as Bahrami managed to lodge a tennis ball up into the ceiling disks whilst setting up a shot for Murray to return!

The Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall

With money being raised for children’s charity Best Beginnings, through a silent auction and through Hawk Eye challenges (a £100 was donated for every challenge made – giving rise to some slightly dubious calls), this was a great way to spend an evening out. Roll on the BNP Paribas Tennis Classic next summer!

Making History In Antarctica By The Luxury Channel

Ben And Tarka

More than 100 years after it was first attempted, two Britons will be honoring the legacy of iconic British explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott by setting out to complete his ill-fated Terra Nova expedition, described as one of the most challenging journeys in human history. It will be the first time in more than 100 years that Scott’s journey has been attempted, and is being undertaken under the patronage of his grandson, Falcon Scott. Poignantly, it was on the eve of Captain Scott’s birthday that polar explorers Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere announced their intention to depart for the South Pole. At 1,800 miles (equivalent to 69 back-to-back marathons) it will be the longest unsupported polar journey in history. Ben and Tarka will use new 4th Generation Intel® Core™ Processor technology to upload videos, photos, blogs and key data in near real-time as the trip progresses. Walking an average of 9.5 hours per day, Ben and Tarka are expected to take 110 days to complete the Scott Expedition.

Ben And Tarka

“The Scott Expedition will be both the greatest and most meaningful challenge I’ve ever taken on. Physically, it sits on the very limits of human potential and will require every inch of resilience and determination we can summon to complete it,” Ben admitted. “Equally, it is an opportunity to recognise the remarkable work of Captain Scott and his men and use the benefits of modern technology to celebrate his story worldwide. Completing Scott’s Terra Nova expedition is a life-long dream of mine.” Expedition patron Falcon Scott, grandson of Robert Falcon Scott, added: ‘The Scott Expedition will be a truly exceptional and meaningful way to recognise and commemorate my grandfather’s expedition to the South Pole. It is extraordinary to think that nobody has since successfully replicated his expedition and I fully support Ben and Tarka in this bold venture. I am very proud to be a Patron.”

Ben Saunders

Departing from Scott’s Hut on the north shore of Cape Evans on Ross Island, Antarctica, Ben and Tarka will traverse the Ross Ice Shelf, before climbing nearly 8000ft on one of the world’s largest glaciers, the Beardmore Glacier, on to the Antarctica Plateau before traveling onwards to the South Pole. From the Pole, it’s back 900 miles the way they came, finishing where they began at Scott’s Hut – all whilst enduring temperatures of -50 degrees. They will also consume almost 6,000 calories a day to maintain the strength necessary to haul the 200kg of kit and supplies they will require to complete the journey unsupported.

Tarka-L'Herpiniere

Mark Cameron, Global Brand Experience Director for Land Rover (one of the Scott Expedition’s sponsors), said: “I have huge admiration for Ben and Tarka as their expedition will demand the highest levels of physical and mental fortitude and sheer determination to succeed. The Scott Expedition is an enormous challenge that honours a heroic spirit of adventure that has endured for more than 100 years, and there are very good reasons why no one in history has ever completed this epic polar expedition! We are pleased to support Ben and the expedition team in their exceptional ambition.”

Tarka And Ben

Robert Swann OBE, a Scott Expedition patron and the first to walk to the North and South poles, said: “What Ben and Tarka are attempting is extraordinary. To complete the mission unsupported will add to the history books and be a fitting tribute to Scott and his team. This is a definitive polar journey to mark the achievements of one of the greatest British explorers of all time.’’

Follow Ben and Tarka’s journey across the Antarctic ice by clicking here. Watch our interview with Ben here. Alternatively, you can support this epic journey by sponsoring a mile.

London Fashion Week Begins! By Hannah Norman

Mary Katrantzou

According to Mayor of London Boris Johnson, the city “bestrides the world of fashion like a dapper titan and I’m proud to support London Fashion Week, which showcases the brightest and best designers working today. This week promises to be the most exciting yet, offering opportunities for even more people to feel a part of the fashion pack, with pop-up stores, live streaming and even a film festival. But it’s not just about how creative and stylish London is, it’s a big money-spinner, bringing in orders from around the globe and generating billions for our economy.”

London Fashion Week SS14 kicks off today with what promises to be one of the best events yet. For years, London had always been viewed as something of a poor cousin to the fashion power cities of Milan, Paris and New York, but slowly, as more edgy, ethical and fashion-forward designers are emerging through the design ranks, London is able to hold its head and compete with fashion’s big boys.

Bora Aksu

The week is opened by Turkish designer Bora Aksu, and shows for Friday 13th include Fyodor Golan and Jasper Conran. Saturday sees emerging designers, including Holly Fulton and Walpole nominee for Best Emerging British Luxury Brand, Zoe Jordan, show their collections on the same day as established brands, such as John Rocha and Julien Macdonald.

Mary Katrantzou

Sunday sees the likes of Mary Katrantzou, Matthew Williamson, Emilia Wickstead and Paul Smith take to the stage, and accessories most definitely won’t be overlooked, with Mulberry’s bags and Manolo Blahnik’s shoes getting their moment on the catwalk. We’re also particularly excited to see what funky new season styles shoe designer Sophia Webster will have come up with.

Anya Hindmarch

Monday has something of a distinctly British flavour, with Burberry, Christopher Kane and Tom Ford all showing collections, and we’re looking forward to seeing the new range from Anya Hindmarch on Tuesday. For those who like their fashion with a sports-luxe twist, Stella McCartney will be showing her collaboration with Adidas on this day as well.

Stella McCartney

Although it looks like winter is now well on its way in London, we’re looking forward to updating our wardrobes for the Spring – bring back the sun already!

Why Invest In A Racehorse? By Héloise Agelou

Héloise Agelou is one of the youngest horse-racing experts in the world, and her first acquisition, at the tender age of 21, was a champion two year old, Milanais. Thereafter, she decided to create Agelou Horse Racing Ltd to help a new breed of horse owners enjoy ownership without ceremony, pompousness and hassle whilst retaining a trustworthy, fun and enjoyable environment. She tells The Luxury Channel about investing in these magnificent creatures….

Agelou Horse Racing

I believe that racing and horses have the power to unite different types of people, without question – from kings to country farmers, barriers cease to exist, past and present coincide and it all becomes about the saddle.

There has never been a better time to own and race horses in France. France is a unique racing nation. 27 G.I races take place every year. Legendary racecourses, such as Chantilly, Longchamp, Auteuil, and Deauville, welcome prestigious races such as the Prix du Jockey club, the Prix de Diane, the Grand Steeple-chase de Paris and the worldwide famous Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Historical training centres, such as at Chantilly and Maisons-Laffitte, designed to craft champions, are located only one hour from the Champs-Elysées.

With more than €230 million distributed in 2008, France has the best rewarding system in Europe, with excellent prize-money and selectivity at the heart of French racing. France is the best racing nation in Europe in terms of prize money, and breeders’ and owners’ premiums. The percentage of keeping and training expenses covered by prize money won per horse having run is also the most valuable one.

In 2009, each of the 27 Gr.1 races distributed a minimum of €250,000 (total allocations per race), the 26 Gr.2 €130,000 and the 57 Gr.3 €80,000.

Listed races have also been increased in number and their prize money boosted. In 2010, each of the 124 Listed races distributed a minimum of €52,000.

Agelou Horse Racing

France has a lot to offer to horse-racing investors and professionals. The French healthy pari-mutuel betting system enables a return to the industry, which, for the thirteenth year in a row, experienced a prize money rise. As a matter of fact, a 3% increase was applied to the global prize money in 2011, to the benefit of international as well as provinces races. Around €250 million constitutes the global budget dedicated to the 6,500 races that will be run in France. Investing in the French industry means that you may benefit from this generous and fruitful system. Indeed, French-bred (or assimilated) horses competing in France can reap serious benefits for both their breeders and owners.

Taking into account that the French racing system provides an average 56% return on investment, being an owner in France makes sense, more than ever. Training fees are competitive, especially in the provinces and they also benefit from a dense and varied racing program.

More than €38 million in owners’ premiums are distributed per year, and the owners’ premiums distributed in France are the highest in Europe. There consists in a percentage of the allocated prize money received on top of the actual prize money in all the flat races run in France, except those restricted to French-bred and assimilated horses.

Owners’ premiums are calculated as follows (for flat races that are not restricted to French born and bred horses or without specific restrictions):
64% for 2, 3, and 4-year-olds
43% for 5-year-olds and up

Reasons are aplenty for both owners and breeders to choose France, as the list of benefits still goes on….and it’s up to you to take advantage of it!

www.agelouhorseracing.com

The John Walker & Sons Voyager – An Epic Odyssey By The Luxury Channel

John Walker & Sons Voyager

The stunning backdrop of Tower Bridge against a setting sun was the perfect spot for the John Walker & Sons Voyager, a glamorous 1920s-style sailing yacht and the perfect vessel for re-imagining the epic ocean voyages that took Johnnie Walker from the four corners of Scotland to the four corners of the world. The Luxury Channel was aboard the yacht to soak up the atmosphere, and to try one or two Johnnie Walker Blue Label-infused cocktails. Heaven!

Since setting off in September 2012, the luxury yacht has hosted a series of high-profile events across Asia (sailing the seas via the original spice route) and in Europe. These events were designed to celebrate each port’s story of progress over the last century and recognise a series of Game Changers – influencers, thinkers and celebrities who embody the pioneering spirit and vision of the Walker family – a vision that has led to Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky becoming the number one Scotch whisky in the world (Source: IWSR 2012).

The Voyager

Portofino in Italy was chosen as the first destination on a European tour that saw the John Walker & Sons Voyager host exclusive events at the Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix – world stages for luxury brands and events – as well as Athens, Barcelona, Amsterdam, London, Hamburg and Copenhagen. The Voyager docked in Edinburgh in August, returning to the brand home of Scotland, where the John Walker & Sons story began almost two centuries ago.

The reason for the yacht, aside from the romance and luxury of being aboard such a vessel, has historical connotations going back to the 1920s, when Johnnie Walker published Around The World. This was a travel guide about all the markets where Johnnie Walker was sold, drawing on local knowledge to supply useful insider information. It was for this reason that a 1920s style sailing yacht was chosen to create, in many ways, a contemporary version of the Around The World travel guide, celebrating the thinking that to engage with the world means reveling in its variety. Engaging with the world is something that John Walker & Sons have truly embraced, as they now boast key markets in the United States, the Middle East, Brazil, Mexico, China, Thailand, South Africa and Australia. Reflecting the global appetite for the brand, Johnnie Walker is now a 20 million, 9 litre case company, and emerging markets have accounted for 80% of its total net sales growth.

John Walker & Sons Voyager

David Gandy, the world’s leading male model and Johnnie Walker Blue Label ambassador, co-hosted the party in London, but he had also been to the launch of the Voyager’s epic European journey in Portofino. Commenting on his appearance on board the John Walker & Sons Voyager, Gandy said: “It’s a privilege to celebrate this great adventure. As the Johnnie Walker Blue Label ambassador, I’m honoured to be part of this creative and innovative campaign and to celebrate the achievements of Game Changers from across the region.” We caught up with Gandy on board the Voyager to talk fashion and philanthropy, and to find out his favourite luxury – read our exclusive interview here.

David Gandy Drinks Reception

Making Waves In Abu Dhabi – Pushing Sailors To Their Limits In The Volvo Ocean Race By Rob Scorah

The InterContinental Abu Dhabi Marina

With Cowes Week not long over, yachting fans will be considering what events offer the best mix of sailing and socialising in the latter part of the year. Opportunities for sunbathing on the foredeck might be limited in northern climes, but the tall black sails of one of the Volvo 70 racing yachts berthed off Gosport hinted at a racing destination which intends to make a big splash in about 16 months’ time during the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race – if you can bear to wait that long.

The yacht with the black sails was Azzam, sailing out of Abu Dhabi. She has already made history as the first Arabian contender in that grueling nine-month, ocean-going marathon and, with her British skipper (double Olympic medallist Ian Walker), she was back on the south coast to defend her title in the Rolex Fastnet Race.

Azzam

By happy coincidence for her owners – Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) – Azzam could also take time out to promote that all-important stop-over, when the dozen or so crews of the Volvo Ocean Race sail into the Arabian sea port after what will be one of the longest and potentially most demanding legs of the event; 9,707 nautical miles from Recife, Brazil.

Crewing for Walker and Azzam may not be an option – part of the yacht’s programme down on the Solent was crew finalization – and anyway, living conditions on the big races are ‘utilitarian,’ to put it mildly. But many will find the somewhat softer living of the UEA capital far more attractive.

The Volvo Ocean Race festivities

From mid-December 2014 until 3rd January 2015, the Destination Village on the Corniche breakwater will play host to crews and fans alike. “We already have one Abu Dhabi stop-over under our belts – the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race,” said Faisal Al Sheikh, Events Bureau Director at TCA Abu Dhabi. “We are in a perfect position to let the sailing world know what destination Abu Dhabi can offer, both as a Volvo Ocean Race host city and as a near year-round watersports destination of distinction.”

The programme for what will no doubt be an intensive and colourful fortnight-long festival is not yet finalised, but Faisal Al Sheikh has promised a comprehensive entertainment and cultural programme. The host city will no doubt be keen to show off its cultural clout, so expect to see some fairly big name Western bands at the Year’s Eve concert, as well as DJs, buskers and Arabian artists; all infused with marine education and plenty of sailing during the two week celebrations. There are also two more in-port races before the yachts set sail once more for Sanya in China. Might be time to tune into a different shipping forecast in December 2014!

Winning The Westchester Cup At The Audi International Polo By Hannah Norman

Image courtesy of Kitty Buchanan-Gregory

Image courtesy of Kitty Buchanan-Gregory

It may have threatened to rain for much of the day, but this is polo country and nothing can truly dampen the spirits here. The Audi International Polo, held at Guards Polo Club in Windsor Great Park, saw the USA take on England for the prestigious Westchester Cup.

The closely fought battle had ended in an 11-11 draw by the end of the sixth chukka, meaning the winning team would be decided in a nail-biting seventh chukka. Both teams were hungry, but in the end, it was the English team, captained by Luke Tomlinson, who emerged victorious. Cue lots of enthusiastic whooping from the grandstands as HRH Prince Charles presented the trophy, which Tomlinson delightedly held aloft.

Image courtesy of Kitty Buchanan-Gregory

Image courtesy of Kitty Buchanan-Gregory

Following the presentation ceremony, private members club Boujis was responsible for putting on a VIP after-party people would never forget. The Luxury Channel rubbed shoulders with male model David Gandy, as we partied the night away to Groove Armada’s fantastic DJ set.

Image courtesy of Boujis and Dave Benett

Image courtesy of Boujis and Dave Benett

Whether you’re a dedicated Polo fanatic, or just discovering the sport for the first time, the International Polo has desperately shrugged off the reputation it has earned in the last few years, making this once again the destination for first-class polo and exciting entertainment. Next year’s event is scheduled to be held on 27th July – get the date booked in your diary now!

To see upcoming events at Guards Polo Club, go to www.guardspoloclub.com. For more informtion about private members club Boujis, go to www.boujis.com. To see more of photographer Kitty Buchanan-Gregory’s work, go to www.kbgphotography.co.uk.

Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority And Yas Marina Circuit Announce ‘The Run To Yas’ Luxury Motorsport Odyssey By The Luxury Channel

The Run To Monaco

The Run To Monaco

Following in the tyre marks of its Monaco-based predecessor, the inaugural The Run To Yas – a five-day luxury road adventure culminating on the Yas Island entertainment destination – was announced in London.

The one-of-a-kind experience will see 30 international supercar owners and enthusiasts roll into Abu Dhabi ahead of November’s Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Taking inspiration from The Run To Monaco, The Run To Yas will start in Muscat, Oman, on October 29th and traverse some of the region’s best driving roads en route to the Yas Marina Circuit finish on November 2nd.

With two veteran F1 drivers (including ex World Champion Damon Hill) among entrants on The Run, the event’s fleet of Ferraris, Bugattis and Maseratis will experience an unforgettable sampling of Abu Dhabi’s finest hotels, restaurants and cultural activities on a route devised by Abu Dhabi Tourism And Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) and Yas Marina Circuit, the local partners of Run To – the event’s UK-based organiser.

“Abu Dhabi is now world-renowned as an international motorsport destination of distinction – thanks in no small part to Yas Marina Circuit and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix,” said Nabeel Al Zarouni, TCA Abu Dhabi’s Country Manager in the UK. Richard Cregan, Chief Executive Officer of Yas Marina Circuit, added: “As we approach the fifth anniversary of the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, we are evolving into a modern classic – attracting fans from near and far for a world-class event in a world-class destination. The Run To Yas builds on this and we look forward to welcoming this group of supercar fans to Abu Dhabi and Yas Marina Circuit.”

The Run To Yas will finish at Yas Marina Circuit on Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend

The Run To Yas will finish at Yas Marina Circuit on Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend

TCA Abu Dhabi and Yas Marina Circuit have also announced plans to launch a global competition to find the official The Run To Yas correspondent. Taking the passenger seat as Yas Marina Circuit co-driver, the correspondent will file daily ‘life on the road’ reports throughout the epic journey and receive an all-expenses paid weekend at the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Confirmed within the five day itinerary, participants in The Run To Yas will journey through some of the most inspired driving locations in the UAE and region, partaking in luxurious mountain camping, mountain drives, cultural activities, and ending at Yas Marina Circuit in time to experience the full weekend schedule of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

During the Grand Prix weekend participants will, among many other activities, enjoy a drive on Yas Marina Circuit with Formula One driver and attend an exclusive event at Amber Lounge with the who’s who of Formula One. Echoing the successful The Run To Monaco format, 30 driver slots in The Run To Yas are available to buy for between £17,000 and £30,000.

“The Run To Yas will be a journey like no other, in a destination like no other,” commented Christo Thompson Managing Director of The Run. Co-founder Chris Welch, added: “The route will bring together the highest levels of luxury, cuisine, entertainment and glamour – it is the ultimate once-in-a-lifetime experience and we’re confident our patrons will agree.”

For more information or to register, visit: www.therunto.com.

Audi International Polo – The Highlight of The Polo Season By The Luxury Channel

England will take on the USA for the prestigious Westchester Cup

, the highlight of the polo season, at Windsor Great Park, followed by an exclusive Boujis after-party – we bring you all the details below.

Photo credit - www.imagesofpolo.com

Photo credit – www.imagesofpolo.com

The Hurlingham Polo Association (polo’s official governing body) is delighted to confirm that a new International Pavilion, providing first class hospitality and an exclusive Boujis after-party, will be created for the very first time for this year’s Audi International (formerly the Cartier International) at Guards Polo Club, Windsor Great Park on Sunday 28 July 2013. 



The International Pavilion will provide a sanctuary for guests to enjoy a culinary three-course lunch and traditional British afternoon tea. The day of society polo will be concluded with an after-party hosted, for the very first time, by award-winning private members club Boujis, with its signature serves, headline DJs and electrifying entertainment. 



Martyn Bowden, Marketing & Group PR Manager of Boujis, stated that the club “has been synonymous for throwing some of the best parties and exclusive events in London and internationally for its members – now it’s time to put our stamp on this prestigious polo event!”


Photo credit - www.imagesofpolo.com

Photo credit – www.imagesofpolo.com

The Westchester Cup is the flagship fixture of the Audi International Polo Series, as well as being the key feature event for the UK sport’s governing body, the Hurlingham Polo Association. The Blue Riband of international polo, this match will be a rare chance to watch the highly successful England team battle against a very competitive team from the USA on UK soil. These two countries have not clashed here since 1997 (when England won 12-9). In Florida in 2009, when the Cup was last contested, England was again successful, winning 10-9.

For more information and to purchase Boujis after-party tickets, call +44 (0) 207 591 5430, or go to www.boujis.com

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Monte Carlo Societe Des Bains Mer Celebrates Its 150th Anniversary By The Luxury Channel

Monaco

Long known as the playground for the rich and famous, Monaco continues to shine as the place to seen in Europe, though offers a lot more than just glitz and casinos. The second smallest country in the world, it is recognised for its amazing Palace, some of Europe’s finest hotels, legendary casinos, more Ferraris per capita than anywhere else and a raft of Michelin stars, as well as for the incredible Grand Prix race around its streets in May each year. Monaco is also home to the exceptional Oceanographic Museum with its famous Aquarium and Shark Lagoon, and an array of beautiful parks and gardens, such as the Princess Antoinette Park, the Japanese Garden, Fontvieille Park and the Princess Grace Rose Garden, which all offer free admission. Helicopter transfers can be arranged to and from Nice airport, so that guests arrive in style and see the dramatic coastline of the Principality.

This summer marks the 150th Anniversary of Monte Carlo Societe des Bains Mer, which will be marked with a Weekend d’Exception on 5th – 7th July. Founded in 1863 by a Sovereign Decree passed by Prince Charles III and designed by Francois Blanc, Monte Carlo SBM properties include the iconic Casino de Monte Carlo, Hotel de Paris, Hotel Hermitage, the world famous Jimmy’z Night Club and leading spa Thermes Marins. To celebrate the anniversary, guests are invited to join the festivities of the Weekend d’Exception.

The weekend commences with a picnic devised by Alain Ducasse accompanied by a concert performed by the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, with Lang-Lang on the piano and exclusive performances by Jamie Cullum and Dame Shirley Bassey.

There will be open-air cinema on the casino terrace playing films in which properties of the Monte Carlo SBM collection have played a special part.

Saturday marks the official opening of the Dangerous Luxury exhibition by the Campana brothers, Fernando and Umberto, and a gourmet lunch will be held at Monte Carlo Beach. The evening will see Rod Stewart performing at the opening of The Monte Carlo Sporting Summer Festival – one of the greatest live music festivals in the world, which delivers iconic artists, legendary bands and new talents. For 2013, the line-up also includes Rihanna and Johnny Hallyday.

During the Weekend d’ Exception, Monte Carlo SBM also invites guests to discover all the offerings of the resort – experience a special spa treatment created in celebration of the 150th anniversary called the Soin Signature 150 Ans at the Thermes Marins spa. Hotel de Paris is opening the doors to its famous wine cellar and offering exclusive wine-tasting sessions.

Also in celebration of the 150th anniversary, an exhibition called Monacopolis has been curated to showcase the development of urbanism and urbanisation in Monaco from 150 years ago up until the present day. Monacopolis is located at three unique venues across the principality: Villa Paloma, Villa Sauber and the Monte Carlo train station, where there is an incredible, real-life 1:200 model of Monaco. At Villa Paloma, sketches by Le Corbusier can be found, along with more than 600 historical plans of Monaco, in particular the Casio-Opera of Monte Carlo.

For more information, go to www.visitmonaco.com.

The Masterpieces of Masterpiece By Hannah Norman

It isn’t every day you go to an art fair, only to wander past exotic tanks of oysters, perhaps better suited to an aquarium. But then, Masterpiece London isn’t any old art fair. Ask style doyenne Sarah Jessica Parker, who joined the throngs of invited press and guests for the preview day. After all, if it’s good enough for Carrie Bradshaw….!

Now in it’s fourth year, Masterpiece London has firmly cemented its position on the summer art fair calendar and attracts exhibitors from all walks of the artistic spectrum, showcasing everything from paintings and sculptures to antique furniture and fine jewellery.

Mary Tudor Pearl

The jewel in the crown – literally – was Symbolic & Chase’s showcase of the Mary Tudor pearl (hence the aforementioned oysters). With a provenance dating back to 1526, this exquisite saltwater pearl is an impressive 64.5 carats, and is the third largest well-formed natural pearl documented today. Originally owned by Empress Isabella of Portugal, it was passed on to her daughter, Juana of Austria, following her death in 1539. The pearl then became part of the dowry that Juana’s brother, Philip II of Spain, gave to Mary Tudor, the first queen of England, after whom it is now named.

Sapphire inalid into opal necklace

From a jewel perspective, other Masterpiece highlights included Bogh-Art’s sparkling array of beauties. Exhibiting it’s jewels in the UK for the very first time, Bogh-Art’s rare gems certainly captured buyers’ attentions, and are testament to why the art of inlay (for which the company is famous) is an art indeed.

Anthony Outred Cabinet

Bogh-Art weren’t the only ones making their masterpiece debut. Anthony Outred Antiques, celebrating their 40th anniversary, sold five pieces on the preview day; three to an international museum.

Image courtesy of Kitty Buchanan-Gregory

Image courtesy of Kitty Buchanan-Gregory

On to sculptures, and it was a case of heads turning heads with Jean-Marie Fiori’s Macaw Head and Blue Ara Head, displayed as part of Galerie Dumonteil’s stand – I’m informed that both later sold. The bright injection of colour was continued with Helmut Koller’s fabulous animal paintings.

Image courtesy of Kitty Buchanan-Gregory

Image courtesy of Kitty Buchanan-Gregory

From beautiful paintings to beautiful cars. Two stunning Jaguar E-TYPEs were on display from specialists Eagle, giving visitors a view of the luxurious interiors and upholstery, and the craftsmanship of the engine.

The craftsmanship continued with Les Enluminures’ display of Guillaume Le Roy the Younger’s 16th Century breath-taking Book of Hours, a luxuriously beautiful manuscript produced for an evidently wealthy patron.

Les Enluminures

Whether you’re a serious collector, or just curious to find out more about some truly amazing artworks and antiques, Masterpiece London has a broad spectrum of exhibitors to satisfy all tastes. If it achieves nothing else, Masterpiece London surely demonstrates that behind some of the most fascinating and varied artworks available to buy today, these are no mere artists, but truly artisans of their craft.

Masterpiece London runs until 3rd July. To see more of photographer Kitty Buchanan-Gregory’s work, go to www.kbgphotography.co.uk.

The BNP Paribas Tennis Classic – A Legendary Secret By Hannah Norman

With Wimbledon having started this week, the players on the current ATP tour were practicing hard, and where better to do that than at the BNP Paribas Tennis Classic, held in the lush grounds of The Hurlingham Club?

From left to right - tennis legends Pat Cash, Mansour Bahrami, Peter McNamara, Henri Leconte, Jeremy Bates, Goran Ivanisevic and Andrew Castle take their places outside The Hurlingham Club

From left to right – tennis legends Pat Cash, Mansour Bahrami, Peter McNamara, Henri Leconte, Jeremy Bates, Goran Ivanisevic and Andrew Castle take their places outside The Hurlingham Club

Now in its twentieth year, the best-kept secret in tennis is only just starting to gain awareness on the summer season social scene, although if the chatter from the people around me was anything to go by, there are a good number of regular attendees who don’t want anyone else finding out about it. It’s really not hard to see why. Centre court seats an intimate 600 guests, meaning you end up within spitting distance of some of the tennis world’s biggest current and former stars.

Whilst the first match between Wimbledon competitors Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tommy Haas was an exciting insight into their grass court game for the coming week (incidentally, for those looking to place early bets, world number eight Tsonga won comfortably over his German rival), it was the legends that took centre stage – quite literally! Never mind their on-court antics, tennis greats Pat Cash, Goran Ivanisevic and Henri Leconte were persuaded to take part in a fashion show organized by my-wardrobe.com, sporting unique headgear.

Goran Ivanisevic, Pat Cash and Henri Laconte take part in the fashion show (image courtesy of Kitty Buchanan-Gregory)

Goran Ivanisevic, Pat Cash and Henri Laconte take part in the fashion show (image courtesy of Kitty Buchanan-Gregory)

The fashion show itself showcased some classic looks for the summer season, with clothes from the likes of Burberry and Marc by Marc Jacobs. The styling emphasis was on chic summer staples, classic tailoring and statement necklines, and full-length dresses with floating hemlines.

Back out on the courts, and the mood switched from competition to entertainment. After Tsonga and Haas’ game, British legend and TV personality Andrew Castle stepped up to interview Tsonga about Wimbledon. The Frenchman revealed he was in good shape, before quipping, “are you?!” “No!” came Castle’s immediate response. Both men were asked for their men’s final predictions. Tsonga went for Federer, Murray, Djokovic and Nadal. Haas also went for Federer and Murray as his top two, but went for Nadal and Tsonga as his picks for third and fourth.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga speaks to Andrew Castle (image courtesy of Kitty Buchanan-Gregory)

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga speaks to Andrew Castle (image courtesy of Kitty Buchanan-Gregory)

The next game was a case of David vs. Goliath, as 6’4” Croatian Goran Ivanisevic faced Hurlingham first-timer Fabrice Santoro. The tiny Tahiti-born tennis legend wasn’t about to let his smaller 5’10” frame be daunted by Ivanisevic, and he more than held his own. When Ivanisevic prepared to serve and announced, “big one next!” (before promptly smashing the ball straight into the net), Santoro taunted, “that was a big one?!” Later, he turned to the crowd, gestured towards Ivanisevic and said, “he’s not bad, is he….for his age!” Santoro eventually won the match (although how the umpire was still keeping score by the end was anyone’s guess – especially as Ivanisevic had undone her shoelaces in retaliation for her calling one of his shots out).

Goran Ivanisevic (image courtesy of Kitty Buchanan-Gregory)

Goran Ivanisevic (image courtesy of Kitty Buchanan-Gregory)

The final match of the day was a doubles game between Andrew Castle and Mansour Bahrami, and Peter McNamara and Henri Leconte. Affectionately dubbed the court jester, Bahrami has been a mainstay at the Tennis Classic since its inception, and it wasn’t long before he was up to his usual tricks. The adoring crowd was clearly anticipating the king of trick shots to pull something special out of the bag, and Bahrami was only too pleased to show off his fakes, pocket catches and ability to pick up six balls in one hand (far harder than it sounds!) Added to this was Leconte’s insistence on ridiculing every spectator who left mid-game, and at one stage, after running out of balls, the four players resorted to miming their way through the match.

Mansour Bahrami and Andrew Castle congratulate Henri Leconte and Peter McNamara (image courtesy of Kitty Buchanan-Gregory)

Mansour Bahrami and Andrew Castle congratulate Henri Leconte and Peter McNamara (image courtesy of Kitty Buchanan-Gregory)

The following day, Andy Murray took to the courts, to the delight of the crowds. He later commented that, “I feel I’ve done a good job today. It was a good match.” Asked about his hopes for Wimbledon, the world number two said, “Wimbledon is the biggest event, so it would be a big achievement to win. A few weeks ago, I wasn’t hitting tennis balls, so I won’t be getting ahead of myself. I am going to concentrate on getting myself 100% fit.” The Scot added, “I plan to do the best I possibly can.”

Andy Murray in action

Andy Murray in action

On Friday, the sun shone brightly on two-time Wimbledon winner Rafael Nadal as he played against Japan’s Kei Nishikori.

In this intimate setting, one gets a real sense that international players shine when they play on Great British grass courts. Fabulous, funny and a wonderful warm-up to Wimbledon, the BNP Paribas Tennis Classic is a secret that is unlikely to stay that way for long. Book yourself in for next year!

For more information about the BNP Paribas Tennis Classic at The Hurlingham Club, go to www.bnpparibastennisclassic.com. To see more of photographer Kitty Buchanan-Gregory’s work, go to www.kbgphotography.co.uk.

Every Dog Has Its Day By Hannah Norman

Dog Day is organised in aid of Canine Partners (above) and Battersea Dogs And Cats Home

Dog Day is organised in aid of Canine Partners (above) and Battersea Dogs And Cats Home

Here at The Luxury Channel, we’re rather fond of our four-legged friends, and couldn’t resist the opportunity to let you in on the latest canine-centred event. Chelsea Harbour’s Design Centre in London will be hosting a special dog show on July 3rd in aid of Battersea Dogs And Cats Home and Canine Partners, with an afternoon fete and an evening “dogtail” cocktail event. For the fashionistas among you, look out for London-based dress designer Lindka Cierach, who will be judging a class or two.

Billed as a fun family day out, the dog show also incorporates games for everyone to get involved in, while the evening event ups the glam factor. Enter the silent auction bidding and you could even win an 18th Century-style bed….for your dog, of course!

For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.dog-day.org.uk.

The Business of Luxury – Power, Politics And Profits By Hannah Norman

Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit Gala Dinner

Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit Gala Dinner

The luxury industry means big business. Addressing the issues faced by luxury businesses has become ever-more important in a rapidly changing world, and the ninth annual Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit was held to help explore the ideas of power, politics and profits, with discussions by leading luxury luminaries. The Summit was attended by over 400 luxury industry executives at Palais Lichtenstein in Vienna, one of the homes owned by the princely family of Lichtenstein – a very fitting venue for discussions about high-end luxury to take place!

Spend on luxury products globally has increased significantly (according to Walpole Ledbury Research, the UK luxury sector is set to grow by 12% in 2013 to £7.4 billion). It’s a trend that’s expected to increase over the years, especially in Asia, as shoppers become more discerning about the relationship between price and quality. Alexis Babeau, Managing Director of Luxury at Kering, agreed with this. “The luxury industry promotes values like trust, creativity, craftsmanship, and inventiveness,” he said. “We need to acknowledge the vital importance [of] the luxury industry….It’s an industry that will keep growing nicely in the coming years.”

Alexis Babeau

Alexis Babeau

The trend for luxury purchases has always been on the up, however, and remains healthy despite the tribulations caused by the recession, even though the global market for luxury goods is, in many ways, still in its infancy. “Luxury became an industry,” said Fung Brands CEO Jean-Marc Loubier. “It was not an industry, but it became [one] in the last thirty years.”

The appetite for luxury goods is spreading globally and consumers, such as those in China, are increasingly seeing luxury purchases as a lifestyle, rather than an aspiration. According to Jingdaily.com, “accessible luxury brands (and traditional luxury brands that have expanded into the accessible luxury sector) have seen significant growth by rapid and profitable retail expansion, increased e-commerce sales, a loyal following of new middle-class customers, and renewed interest from older, wealthier [consumers],” the website writes. “A large new group of middle-class consumers – some 300 million of them – have emerged to seek luxury and accessible luxury products.” Back in Vienna, Christophe Navarre, CEO of Möet Hennessy, affirmed this. “China is simply becoming a normal market,” he revealed. Massimo Ferragamo, Chairman of Ferragamo USA, is optimistic about this. “From a business point of view, I think it is fantastic that new markets have opened up because they always fuel the business in one way or another, like Brazil, China, Russia and India,” he said. “I actually think that is the most positive aspect of our business….but the thing that is incredible is that the eye of the consumer – for some reason – must develop around the world at the same time, because the products that are successful are successful in every country.”

Massimo Ferragamo

Massimo Ferragamo

It’s not just consumers who are turning to the luxury industry. According to the Financial Times, “[the industry’s] profile as a success story, employer, and fiscal contributor is becoming ever-greater, not just in the economic world, but in the political world as well.” As Financial Times Fashion Editor Vanessa Friedman pointed out, “the luxury industry is a really major source of revenue, not just for private households, but for central governments.”

Despite it’s buoyancy, the luxury business is having to adapt. As consumers become more discerning by buying luxury goods, they are also developing an increased awareness of the sustainable and philanthropic practices adopted by the brands they buy from. Patrizio di Marco, CEO at Gucci (who won this year’s Commitment To Corporate Social Responsibility Award at the recent Luxury Briefing Awards), was in Vienna to discuss the concept of philanthropic power. Philanthropy “is a marketing goal ultimately,” he admitted. “Definitely, the long-term goal, given our continuous and consistent commitment to responsibility, will enhance the brand reputation and as such, the brand will have more meaning of craftsmanship. Consumers will buy more into the brand besides the tangible values.” That said, Gucci is “doing what we are doing because it is the right thing to do.”

Patrizio di Marco

Patrizio di Marco

Gucci’s commitment to philanthropy and corporate social responsibility has seen them establish a seven year relationship with UNICEF, and more recently, with Chime For Change, a charitable initiative set up by Gucci’s Creative Director Frida Giannini. The charity aims to raise awareness and funds for three essential elements of a woman’s life – education, justice and health – in order to give vulnerable women a voice. The reason for this, as Giannini commented, is so “that we can help the voices calling for change to become so loud that they cannot be ignored.”

Lionel Barber

Lionel Barber

The Business of Luxury Summit was concluded by Financial Times editor Lionel Barber, who praised the work of the FT’s How To Spend It founders, Julia Carrick and Sir David Bell, and congratulated Gillian de Bono for her tremendous contribution as editor over the last few years. He then went on to outline his predictions for the future – namely that emerging countries will soon start to have their own luxury brands to compete with the big names from the west, that younger generations will be more ethically-aware (meaning that corporate ethical and social responsibility will become important marketing tools), and that finally, retail will become much more experiential, as the global trend shifts towards online and digital purchases. Exciting times are clearly ahead for the luxury industry as it competes amidst the chaos and technology of the 21st century….watch this space!

Not On Our Watch By The Luxury Channel

Not On Our Watch

Humanitarian charity Not On Our Watch is to host their first ever UK charity fundraiser on Saturday. The Not On Our Watch Charity Race Day is an event of both high prestige and humbling generosity, which aims to raise funds for an incredibly worthy cause.

Not On Our Watch was founded by Jerry Weintraub, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, David Pressman and George Clooney, and is committed to robust international advocacy and humanitarian assistance. The charity aims to put an end to mass atrocities and gross violations of international human rights in areas of the world which receive minimal global attention. The funds raised from the race day and after party will contribute to emergency lifesaving projects to protect the vulnerable, marginalized and displaced.

Speaking of his involvement in the charity, George Clooney said, “My job is to try and find ways of talking about issues that move us forward. I don’t make policy, but I can shine a light on faulty or good policy. The Not On Our Watch launch reached more than 9 million people. We need to focus global attention on the plight of the 2.5 million civilians who have fled their homes. Rather than talk about who I`m dating, let`s talk about saving lives.”

Not On Our Watch accomplishments include the launch of the satellite sentinel project, which aims to prevent human rights abuses before they occur. This project uses satellite imagery over conflict zones and field reports to document evidence of mass atrocities along the border between Sudan and South Sudan. The project, launched in December 2010 and fully supported by Not On Our Watch, aims for prevention rather than cure. CNN’s John Avlon said that as a result of the Not On Our Watch initiative, “dictators can no longer hide in the dark.”

The Not On Our Watch Charity Race Day will be held at Sandown Park Racecourse on the 15th of June to raise both awareness and money for this truly worthy cause. In addition to a great day at the races with Agelou Horse Racing and Carol Joy London, guests will be able to enjoy an afternoon of fine dining and entertainment at the exclusive luncheon and live charity auction, which will be accompanied by a beautiful performance from famous concert violinist Nazrin Rashidova and concert pianist Daniel Grimwood. To celebrate this great day at the races, guests will be welcomed to the Not On Our Watch after party, which will be held at the Brompton Club. Hosted by Prudence McNellis, founder of Prudence Production Limited, and Cleo Rocos, actress, author and owner of AquaRiva Tequila, the evening will include amazing entertainment with Delilah, DJ Ben and DJ Van.

Tickets are by invitation only, and cost £420. RSVP to prudence@prudenceproduction.com or for more information, visit www.prudenceproduction.com.

The BNP Paribas Tennis Classic: The Warm-Up To Wimbledon! By The Luxury Channel

Centre Court

The BNP Paribas Tennis Classic takes place at the height of the summer tennis season, and gives spectators the opportunity to watch unforgettable, world-class tennis. Set in the tranquil 42 acre grounds of one of the most renowned members’ clubs in the country – the Hurlingham Club – the event showcases some of the stars of the ATP and WTA Tour as they warm up for Wimbledon, as well as a number of tennis legends. Matches take place on Centre Court, which seats an intimate crowd of 600, tennis players mingle with guests off-court and there’s also the opportunity to play tennis with the professionals in the PRO-AMs.

Managed by IMG, the global sports, fashion and media company, the BNP Paribas Tennis Classic takes place from 18-22nd June and offers VIP hospitality with tennis matches from ATP & WTA players and tennis legends. Those confirmed to play throughout the week include Jo Wilfried-Tsonga (world no.8), Tommy Haas (world no.14, who recently beat Djokovic at the Sony Open) and Kei Nishikori (world no.16) as well as tennis legends Pat Cash, Goran Ivanisevic, Henri Leconte, Andrew Castle, Fabrice Santoro and Mansour Bahrami. IMG are also thrilled to announce that World No.2, and reigning US Open and Olympic Singles Champion, Andy Murray, will play at the exclusive BNP Paribas Tennis Classic at The Hurlingham Club in London this June.

Andy Murray

On confirming his place at the event, Murray, who rose to number 2 in the world rankings last Friday, said: “I’m really looking forward to being back at the Hurlingham Club. It’s the perfect way for me to warm up for Wimbledon – there’s always a great atmosphere and the setting is absolutely stunning.”

Best known for being the first wildcard entry to win Wimbledon and for his blistering left-handed serve, Goran Ivanisevic added: “I am really looking forward to playing against my old rivals at the BNP Paribas Tennis Classic at Hurlingham in June. It’s always a great way to kick start the summer tennis season.”

Hurlingham_Club

The BNP Paribas Tennis Classic will have an extra stylish twist this year when evian® and my-wardrobe.com launch the tournament’s first ever Ladies Day on Wednesday 19th June. Guests will also be treated to my-wardrobe.com’s exclusive fashion show with designs by Marc by Marc Jacobs, Acne, Burberry, JW Anderson, Tory Burch and Ostwald Helgason, plus a VIP goody bag, courtesy of Benefit Cosmetics.

Sarah Curran, Founder of my-wardrobe.com said: “The Championships, Wimbledon and the BNP Paribas Tennis Classic are two of the most prominent events in the summer calendar. We’re thrilled to be able to work with evian® in support of such an exciting and stylish event, which is so fitting for the my-wardrobe woman.”

Tickets available for the BNP Paribas Tennis Classic at the Hurlingham Club from £99 at www.bnparibastennisclassic.com.

MINT Polo In The Park – The Start of The Summer! By The Luxury Channel

Abi Griffiths draws the teams

Abi Griffiths draws the teams

MINT Polo In The Park was launched in 2008 as an exciting and innovative new polo event that hit the streets of London with gusto and glamour. Year-on-year, it has stood as the leading outdoor polo and lifestyle event in central London.

The MINT Polo In The Park launch has now become a yearly tradition, where we see not only the start of the Polo season kick off, but also the official start of the summer social season. 2013 marks the fifth consecutive year of what is now one of the most hotly anticipated sporting events in London’s calendar, and The Luxury Channel went to the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Hotel to see this year’s teams being drawn.

The event itself is taking place on June 7th, 8th and 9th, with the six inter-nation teams taking part in a fierce, fast-paced, competitive battle to become champions of the MINT Polo In The Park 2013 tournament.

The six team captains

The six team captains

This year’s event will guarantee a quintessentially British atmosphere fused with the truly international flavour of the sport, with the four corners of the globe being represented by IG Team Sydney, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Team Beijing, Otkritie Team Moscow, City AM Team Abu Dhabi and the ever-popular Camino Real Team Buenos Aires, plus the home team and 2012 Champions, MINT Team London.

This is a monumental year for MINT Polo In The Park, as Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Team Beijing is officially the first Chinese team to play polo on British soil, so it is apt that this will take place at the spiritual home of Polo – Hurlingham Ground One. We are sure that this will make the stakes even higher for the prize!

The Inaugural Opera Awards By Hannah Norman

For fans of one of the most expressive forms of music known to man, it would appear strange that there has never been an awards ceremony to celebrate all that is great and good about opera. Businessman Harry Hyman, a prolific opera fan who attends some 30 different operas a year, has thus taken matters into his own hands, to create what he hopes will become the Oscars of the opera world. Accordingly, The Luxury Channel was invited to the inaugural Opera Awards, held at London’s Hilton Park Lane Hotel.

Nicholas Owen

Recognising the considerable achievements of opera stars across the globe, the Awards were divided into 22 categories, decided by a panel of 10 expert judges, including John Allison, editor of Opera Magazine, Kathryn Harries, director of National Opera Studio, and celebrated soprano Dame Anne Evans. There was also one final Readers’ Award, voted for by the public. Tenor Jonas Kaufmann walked away with the accolade.

Jonas Kaufmann

The night was a good one for the German singer, who also picked up the coveted award for Male Singer. Soprano Nina Stemme won the award for Female Singer (watch the winners receiving their awards here).

Other awards to note include popular choice Antonio Pappano for Conductor, and Antony McDonald for Set Designer. McDonald was in a jovial mood when The Luxury Channel caught up with him at the preceding drinks reception. Commenting on how opera should become increasingly less elitist, this was a view shared by several of his peers, including Harry Hyman himself, and Opera Ambassador Nicky Spence. Fans of McDonald’s work will be pleased to hear he is currently preparing a Northern Ireland tour of The Importance of Being Earnest in October. Surely a recipe for a great, comedic opera – book early to avoid disappointment!

Opera Awards

Hosted by BBC regular Nicholas Owen, the Awards were interspersed with dramatic performances from National Opera Studio. These young stars – still completing their training – showed exceptional promise.

National Opera Studio

Whilst on the subject of young talent, it is worth noting that the money raised from the evening goes towards The Opera Awards Foundation, which seeks to provide grants for young people pursuing a career within the many facets of opera, from singing to set design.

With all the glamour one would expect from an awards evening focussed on opera (and with over 700 people in attendance), it would seem that the Opera Awards will grow to become a benchmark for the industry, generating increased interest and investment in the music and in the stars themselves. That, surely, is the legacy that Harry Hyman had been hoping for.

The Best of BaselWorld By Scott Manson

We came, we saw, we wore. The Tempus team recently descended on BaselWorld, the world’s biggest watch show, and found a feast of horological delights on offer. The show offered the perfect snapshot of what the watch world has in store over the next few months and, as always, threw up several surprises. Boundary-smashing technical innovation and ostentation ruled supreme, making this one of the most vibrant watch fairs to date.

Fashion

Burberry Watch
Burberry
It was only right that Burberry would take the qualities that have made it such a success story – the emphasis on classic, stylish British craftsmanship – and use them for its first watch collection. There’s all the gloss you’d expect from the luxury brand, including the moody styling and celebrity advertising campaign, but don’t let this distract from the simple elegance of The Britain timepieces themselves. This automatic has a distinctive rounded octagonal case and Swiss-made, self-winding mechanical three-hand movement, making it as well-built as it is wearable.

Hermes Watch
Hermès
Hermès marks the 35th anniversary of the iconic Arceau model with the Arceau Petite Lune. A delicate face displays two complications: a pointer-type date indication marks off the days of the lunar cycles and a horological complication shows the moon phases, while a mechanical self-winding movement works with a module to power it. Elegant as always, a mother-of-pearl dial and alligator strap that uses Hermès’ famous saddle-stitching technique make this a piece to treasure.

Chanel Watch
Chanel
The J12 is arguably one of the most successful high-end ‘fashion’ watches, so fans will be pleased to hear that the latest release – the J12 Chromatic Retrograde Mysterieuse – has raised the bar considerably. It features a tourbillion, digital minute display and 10-day power reserve, so all the technical features are there, and it looks the business too, thanks to a semi-skeletonised case and gold bezel with titanium ceramic inserts.

Weird And Wonderful

Breva Genie Watch
Breva Genie
Independent watch brand Breva Genie introduced its first timepiece, the weather-predicting Genie 01, at Basel this year. Incredibly, it’s the world’s first timepiece (other than some digital watches) that has the time, altimeter and barometer, as well as power reserve indications provided by the fully mechanical movement, most of which is viewable through the open dial and back. Budding meteorologists will be further entertained by the scale on the caseback which provides correlations between altitude and air pressure.

Alfex Watch
Alfex
The Alfex Translucent 8X watch looks like nothing else on the market. In a technical feat, it combines strong steel with transparent, lightweight acrylic to make an interesting aesthetic statement. The bangle watch distorts the traditional look of a timepiece, positioning the dial off-centre, and using repetition to create a pattern that forms the very structure of the bracelet.

Hautlence Watch
Hautlence
The Avant-Garde Retrograde is, as you’d expect from the company that launched its first ever round case four years ago, innovatively designed. An imposing case and a sapphire transparent dial that reveals the in-house mechanical hand-wound movement – complete with jumping hours and retrograde minutes – gives it an ultra-modern, almost weightless appearance.

Jewellery Watches

Harry Winston Watch
Harry Winston
Harry Winston reinvents the wheel – or in this case the tourbillion – with its latest release, the Histoire de Tourbillion 4. Its watchmakers thinking was that a modern wristwatch, held in many positions during the day, needs more than one rotating cage to successfully counter the effects of gravity. To that end, its latest release sees a single oscillator contained within three concentric cages which all rotate at different speeds and at different angles to each other. This, then, is one of the most complex tourbillons out there, and only 20 of these magnificent watches will be made.

Chopard Watch
Chopard
One of several new releases from Chopard at Basel this year, the L.U.C. Engine One H, is our pick of the bunch. Incredibly technical, it continues Chopard’s tradition of combining automobile-style design with fine watch-making. Impressive finishes added to its tourbillion movement include linear engine-like grooves, while the horizontal layout of the watch itself reflects the design of racing car cockpits. More traditional elements remain, however, with all the steps in creating the watch – including movement development, gold casting and hand-crafted finishes – still performed in-house.

Bulgari Watch
Bulgari
Originally released in 1975, the Bulgari Roma set out to change conservative watch-making and chose ancient Rome and its architectural heritage as its inspiration. Today, the newest release is resolutely classic and remains loyal to its heritage, but a 2013 update has given the strictly limited-edition piece a proprietary self-winding movement, elegantly curved 18-carat pink gold case and smart alligator strap.

It’s Complicated!

Bremont Watch
Bremont
Like many of Bremont’s watches, the ALT1-B2 has some military pedigree, as the design is very similar to the watches Bremont gave to the elite B2 ‘Stealth Bomber’ aircrew last year. After being approached by the B2 Squadron to make the timepiece, Bremont took the most advanced elements from its chronographs – including a modified BE-54E movement and case with roto-click internal bezel – and created a slick watch with unrivalled clarity.

Hublot Watch
Hublot
Hublot’s success continues apace with this, the gloriously-named Big Bang Caviar With Diamonds, available in red gold or steel. It’s based on the design of the One Million $ Black Caviar and inspired by the much-loved and best-selling black ceramic Big Bang Black Caviar, taking the most technical and impressive details from both. Sharply angular, this version is fitted with the impressive HUB1112 self-winding mechanical movement, has a power reserve of 42 hours and is studded with 36 diamonds, giving it a more subtle feel than its predecessors.

Christophe Claret
Christophe Claret
The Kantharos is packed full of high-tech features, making for a tremendously desirable piece from one of the world’s greatest watchmakers. Constant force escapement ensures total precision, while an automatic-winding chronograph cathedral gong that chimes with each change of function adds a quirky touch. The gongs, a favoured feature of Christophe Claret, are visible at 10 o’clock, while a special patented system ensures that they don’t vibrate against each other, thus eliminating unwanted buzzing.

Scott Manson is the editor of Tempus, a luxury watch publication.

The Colours of Spring At BaselWorld By Maria Doulton, Founder of The Jewellery Editor

Colourful watches from Dior, DeLaneau, de Grisogono, Omega and Chopard got Baselworld off to a bright start, as Maria Doulton from The Jewellery Editor reports.

Spring has arrived in Switzerland and at BaselWorld, the flags are flying in the sun and the flowers are in full bloom. There is plenty of colour inside the vast, newly revamped halls of the fair too, as bright and breezy tones are once again in favour.

La Mini D Dior watch with neon strap, steel case, diamond-set bezel and black mother-of-pearl dial.

La Mini D Dior watch with neon strap, steel case, diamond-set bezel and black mother-of-pearl dial.

Dior presents the La D Mini, with a neon patent leather strap for a bold colour fix, while Chopard’s new My Happy Sport Bespoke Passion lets you mix and match your colours and diamonds. I love the bright rubber straps for a fun look for summer.

Chopard My Happy Sport Bespoke Passion watch with pink alligator strap.

Chopard My Happy Sport Bespoke Passion watch with pink alligator strap.

DeLaneau, the Swiss house that makes an art out of painted enamel dials, brings the soft hues of Impressionist paintings to its miniature canvases. The Flower Field range tests the skills of its three in-house artists, who have captured the hazy beauty of this art style. Like a Cezanne or Monet, each one is unique.

DeLaneau's Atame Flower Field watch captures the beauty of the Impressionist art style on its hand-painted enamel dial.

DeLaneau’s Atame Flower Field watch captures the beauty of the Impressionist art style on its hand-painted enamel dial.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, de Grisogono’s Sugar watches sparkle with emeralds, orange and blue sapphires and, of course, diamonds. With their cascade of gems, these watches are made for the dance floor – the precious stones on the side of the watch move with each flick of the wrist.

The full collection of de Grisogono Sugar watches with gem-set sides.

The full collection of de Grisogono Sugar watches with gem-set sides.

A hint of colour lights up Omega’s new Ladymatic dials in soft pastel hues for a pretty and very wearable look. Combining a mechanical movement with precious metals and stones, the Ladymatic is fast becoming Omega’s most iconic women’s watch.

The new Ladymatic watch by Omega in stainless steel, with a pretty pink mother-of-pearl dial, diamond hour markers and pavé diamonds decorating the case.

The new Ladymatic watch by Omega in stainless steel, with a pretty pink mother-of-pearl dial, diamond hour markers and pavé diamonds decorating the case.

Maria Doulton is the founder of The Jewellery Editor.

Zenith Impress At BaselWorld By Leo Parker

Felix Baumgartner & Zenith Watches

BaselWorld 2013 has, undoubtedly, been a resounding, unmitigated success with each of the world’s leading watch brands showcasing some truly astounding timepieces over the last few days. One brand in particular turned more heads than most at this year’s event, and that brand was Zenith – who had a rather impressive special guest in the form of Austrian daredevil, Felix Baumgartner – who joined the Swiss watchmakers on stage to help launch a new range of Zenith Pilot timepieces.

Felix Baumgartner

Felix Baumgartner, who became the fastest man on earth when he broke the speed of sound jumping from 39km and sky-diving to earth, was on hand at BaselWorld to help unveil Zenith’s latest range of timepieces for 2013 but, it’s fair to say, most people wanted to focus on the daredevil’s jump and, more specifically, the timepiece he wore during his descent – which you can see below:

Felix Baumgartner's Watch

Zenith didn’t just rely on the appearance of Felix Baumgartner, of course, they also had plenty of impressive watches to showcase at their stand – including those seen below:

Zenith Watch
Zenith Watch

All of these Zenith timepieces were greeted with a pretty rapturous reception and positively exuded the sort of luxury that we have all come to expect from one of the world’s leading Swiss watchmakers. For a more extensive selection of Zenith watches, take a look at The Watch Gallery.

BaselWorld 2013 – First Day Highlights By Leo Parker

BaselWorld

For any luxury aficionado, there is one date in the calendar that typically stands out more than most and the event in question is that of BaselWorld. Starting today in Switzerland, the event serves as a platform for all the world’s leading watchmakers, such as Hublot, Montblanc, Rolex and Breitling, to showcase the timepieces that they’ve got in store over the next twelve months or so. Safe to say they seldom disappoint and, despite this year’s event only being a few hours old, this year doesn’t look like it will be any different, as there has already been some astounding timepieces unveiled.

Rolex, as always, have set their stall out strong at BaselWorld and they possibly have the biggest stand in the history of exhibition stands at this year’s event! Check it out below:

Rolex Stand

They’ve not just focused on having the most epic stand at BaselWorld, Rolex have also wowed the crowds with some mightily impressive watches as well – check out some of the best below:

Rolex Watches

These timepieces are set for release soon but, in the meantime, you can check on all Rolex watches at The Watch Gallery.

Hublot LaFerrari Watch

Needless to say, Rolex weren’t alone in impressing those in attendance at the first day of BaselWorld. Hublot have also turned heads aplenty with their joint effort with the Italian luxury carmakers, Ferrari; the end result of which is the utterly astonishing Hublot Masterpiece LaFerrari watch pictured below:

Hublot LaFerrari Watch

You can read more about the Hublot releases at BaselWorld here.

It’s only the first day of BaselWorld, so there are plenty more timepieces to be revealed over the next few days, so stay tuned to The Luxury Channel for more updates on the latest watches and news from the event. Despite the amazing quality of the watches being witnessed today, there are those who are of the opinion that the best is still yet to come….

You can also follow BaselWorld at The Watch Gallery Events Magazine.

Les Bains – The Art of Re-Invention By Hannah Norman

Thomas Canto's "Oeuvre En 3D," courtesy of the Magda Danysz Gallery, and Jérôme Coton for the photo credit.

Thomas Canto’s “Oeuvre En 3D,” courtesy of the Magda Danysz Gallery, and Jérôme Coton for the photo credit.

Paris, known for such iconic buildings (the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, for instance) also prides itself on a number of other less well-known buildings, such as Les Bains.

Built in 1885, Les Bains was originally one of the most famous bath houses in Paris for almost a century, frequented by the likes of Marcel Proust – until its owners, the Guerbois family, shut up shop in 1978. Les Bains’ illustrious history was still in the process of being written, however. Following a Philippe Starck make-over, the venue became a night club cum concert hall, and the place to be for a myriad of big names. From stars of music such as Bryan Ferry, David Bowie, Mick Jagger and David Guetta, to fashion icons such as Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, Yves Saint Laurent, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, to screen stars including Catherine Deneuve, Johnny Depp and Sean Penn, the list of A-list guests was quite simply never-ending.

"STEW," courtesy of the Magda Danysz Gallery, and Stephane Bisseuil for the photo credit.

“STEW,” courtesy of the Magda Danysz Gallery, and Stephane Bisseuil for the photo credit.

In 2010, however, following some unauthorized building work, Les Bains was finally forced to close its doors for good….or so it seemed. Just a year later, La Société Des Bains was formed, whose mission was to renovate the building and give it a whole new identity, whilst remaining utterly sympathetic to its past. The aim is to open it again in 2014, four years after it was initially shut down.

"YZ," courtesy of the Magda Danysz Gallery, and Stephane Bisseuil for the photo credit.

“YZ,” courtesy of the Magda Danysz Gallery, and Stephane Bisseuil for the photo credit.

In the meantime, rather than let the empty space remain destitute, unused and ultimately unappreciated, it has been handed over to Magda Danysz to curate a wholly different artistic event. Celebrating street art at its most creatively expressive, the building – quite literally – has become a blank canvas for specially selected international artists to share their passion and talent on a truly epic scale. Fans of this alternative art scene (and of Les Bains itself) should get online quick, though – the various depictions are only on show via the web until 30th April, before the renovators move in, ensuring the story of Les Bains, in all its many guises, will continue to be written – go to www.lesbains-paris.com.

The Top Marques Monaco Supercar Show By Françoise Almasa Alunni

Hamann Mirr6r's silver car

Hamann Mirr6r Silver Car

Françoise Almasa Alunni reports from Top Marques Monaco….

Looking for the 007 Skyfall top of the range helicopter or the latest crème de la crème automotive model? Then you should have been at the Top Marques Monaco Supercar Show. Despite the global recession, demand for the ‘Top Toys’ has never been stronger. Gold is definitely the note for this year, whether you have it in your car paint from Soleil Motors, on your bike from Lauge Jensen….or even your lingerie from Rococo Dessous!

Soleil Motors' Gold Car

Soleil Motors’ Gold Car

Looking at acquiring a new property? See the Hamilton Grand St. Andrews project. To reach it, you can always contact Flight Source to provide you with the private jet you have always wanted. And why not furnish your new home with that unique Schimmel pianoforte designed every year by a different artist, and decorate your interior with Crystal Caviar’s most unbelievable materials?

Vasanta Elephant, covered in Swarovski crystals

Vasanta Elephant, covered in Swarovski crystals

Richness is the focus of this show, but anyone could come and have a look at these luxurious products, whether they were automotive models from Pagani, or the most exceptional piece of jewellery like a 400 carat rough diamond presented by Boulle, or a sublime pair of boots in brilliant red suede and embroidered with pearls from Mercedeh. You could also watch the most innovative TV, combining a fantastic piece of art and a retro projector, from S.A.M.C.O.

With so much to soak up, we’ve definitely been inspired to make a few luxurious up-grades!

Lauge Jensen's Gold Motorbike

Lauge Jensen’s Gold Motorbike

Scotland Takes New York As Tartan Week Arrives By Iona Crawford

Bagpipe players in the Parade (image courtesy of Mark Beaumont and Cutty McGill for the American-Scottish Foundation).

Bagpipe players in the Parade (image courtesy of Mark Beaumont and Cutty McGill for the American-Scottish Foundation).

“It’s been Tartan Fortnight in New York, from music to fashion, film, energy and business forums – but let’s not forget pipers, kilts and tartan!

Tartan Day Celebrations take place all over the States, and indeed the world, on April 6th. New York is an epicenter for Scotland Tartan Week celebrations and the corner stone is the annual New York Tartan Day Parade, where over 2000 pipers, societies, clans, and a large pack of Scotties and Westies take Sixth Avenue.

This year was the 15th Anniversary of the Parade, and The Luxury Channel invited the The American-Scottish Foundation, one of the Parade’s founding organizers, to give us their overview. In turn, they invited leading Scottish fashion designer Iona Crawford to take on reporting duties – kicked off by an exclusive meeting with Parade Grand Marshall Kevin McKidd – and to share with us a few of the highlights from throughout her busy visit to New York.” – Camilla G. Hellman, The Luxury Channel’s Director of Marketing USA.

Iona Crawford and Kevin McKidd pose for a picture (image courtesy of Mark Beaumont and Cutty McGill for the American-Scottish Foundation).

Iona Crawford and Kevin McKidd pose for a picture (image courtesy of Mark Beaumont and Cutty McGill for the American-Scottish Foundation).

A crisp spring morning in Manhattan, with blue cloudless skies shining down on a fabulous patchwork of multicolored tartan. I arrived as the line up for the Parade was beginning to take, and the streets around Sixth Avenue were filled with highland warriors young and old, Shetland ponies in knitwear, Westies in tammie hats and kilts, with pipers getting ready for their day of pride and celebration….again, Scotland Day was upon us and there was a parade to be marched!

Grand Marshal Kevin McKidd waves to the crowds (image courtesy of Mark Beaumont and Cutty McGill for the American-Scottish Foundation).

Grand Marshal Kevin McKidd waves to the crowds (image courtesy of Mark Beaumont and Cutty McGill for the American-Scottish Foundation).

This, the annual Tartan Day Parade, first established by the Canadians as their Tartan Day in the mid 1980s, has grown in stature and popularity as Scots from around the world meet to march in unison.

For me, whilst I was in Southampton New York around the same time last year, this was my first experience of New York Tartan Day Parade, and what an experience it was!

Vikings from Shetland (image courtesy of Mark Beaumont and Cutty McGill for the American-Scottish Foundation).

Vikings from Shetland (image courtesy of Mark Beaumont and Cutty McGill for the American-Scottish Foundation).

Meeting at the Algonquin Hotel around noon where organizers, Scottish politicans, winning bands and all manner of people were meeting – including a large group of Vikings from Shetland, I had the good fortune of speaking with Kevin McKidd, Grand Marshall for this year’s parade. Having only ever viewed Kevin in his roles as Owen in Gray’s Anatomy and Tommy in Trainspotting, it was utterly lovely sharing a conversation with the man himself, dressed in softly toned Howie Nicholsby 21st Century Kilts attire. I discovered that his daughter and I share the same name and that his parents had travelled from his hometown in Elgin to share his Scotland Day honour.

A Scottie wearing tartan (image courtesy of Mark Beaumont and Cutty McGill for the American-Scottish Foundation).

A Scottie wearing tartan (image courtesy of Mark Beaumont and Cutty McGill for the American-Scottish Foundation).

But I couldn’t stay with him too long as I too had an important role to play as co-judge in selecting the prize-winning Westies and Scotties, alongside Camilla Hellman from the American Scottish Foundation. I then had to rush back up through hundreds of kilted warriors to try and locate my group – loosing Camilla in the melee of men, women, children, dogs and horses.

Westie twins wearing tartan (image courtesy of Mark Beaumont and Cutty McGill for the American-Scottish Foundation).

Westie twins wearing tartan (image courtesy of Mark Beaumont and Cutty McGill for the American-Scottish Foundation).

On the strike of two o’clock, with gusto the Parade began. Pipe-bands, each with their own signature composition, marched in time, batons twirling, highland dancers leaping and faces beaming with pride for their shared heritage, roots and fellow clansmen.

Bagpipe players in the Parade (image courtesy of Mark Beaumont and Cutty McGill for the American-Scottish Foundation).

Bagpipe players in the Parade (image courtesy of Mark Beaumont and Cutty McGill for the American-Scottish Foundation).

Following the Parade, I went on to a reception, meeting up with leading Scottish sculptor Andy Scott, who was in New York scouting for a location to move the wonderful 20ft Kelpies from Chicago to New York – he was returning to Scotland to work further on the installation of the 100ft Kelpies, part of the Helix project on the Firth of Forth.

Photographer Ken Paterson then spoke with me about his exhibit at Federal Hall on Wall Street, In The Footsteps of John Muir, a month-long exhibition honoring John Muir. So much to see and do!

Tartan Week is an opportunity for people to meet, discuss and plan, and this week has been a whirl of that. Former Grand Marshall of the Parade Alan Cummings was opening on Broadway in MacBeth, a National Theatre of Scotland production, although sadly I didn’t manage to get to see the production.

Everyone wears tartan (image courtesy of Mark Beaumont and Cutty McGill for the American-Scottish Foundation).

Everyone wears tartan (image courtesy of Mark Beaumont and Cutty McGill for the American-Scottish Foundation).

I was keen to embrace as much music, arts, culture and heritage as possible. Musical concerts included performances by Stanley Odd, Rachel Sermanni, The Proclaimers, and The View. Roseanne Cash also performed a benefit concert for Sandy Relief in support of a campaign to repair of one of the Schooners damaged during Hurricane Sandy. It’s clear that New York is still reeling from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty are shut to visitors, and Battery Park is a wasteland, having been hard-hit by a 14ft surge of water. As apparent as the devastation is, residents are confident that this won’t last for long – this is New York. I was sorry to miss Roseanne’s concert which took place on Monday night, the same night as From Scotland With Love hit the runway at Stage Forty8 in Midtown Manhattan. An annual Scotland Week show, the theme for this year – The Asian Dragon Meets The Scottish Lion – brought together a fusion of Asian and Scottish fashion design upon a glamorous runway.

For me, a definite jewel in the Scotland Week crown was the launch of Highland Heart, an exhibition of masterful photography by Scottish, New York-based David Eustace. Taking place within his very own studio on West 26th Street, Friday’s exhibition was more than heart-wrenching and reminded me why, as much as I adore New York, Scotland will always be home.

An Iona Crawford creation

An Iona Crawford creation

My magnificently fast-paced week of meetings, shows, shoots, events and glorious sunshine in New York reached a magnificent crescendo, as I was exclusively invited to showcase my current collections within the spectacularly ornate surrounds of Manhattan’s famous Metropolitan Club during The National Trust for Scotland Gala Dinner. There could have been no more magical a way to conclude my week and better still, I know that time will be short before my next business trip to New York.

Iona Crawford models a white sheath dress

Iona Crawford models a white sheath dress

To learn more about all that has taken place, please visit www.americanscottishfoundation.org.

For more information on Iona Crawford, please visit www.ionacrawford.com or contact her on
+44 (0) 7816504926 / iona@ionacrawford.com

FOOTNOTES:
Tartan Day is celebrated each year on April 6th, and began in Canada when on December 19th 1991, in response to action initiated by the Clans & Scottish Societies of Canada, the Ontario Legislature passed a resolution proclaiming April 6th as Tartan Day.

The Scottish Coalition USA then led the efforts for the USA, and on March 20th 1998, Senate Resolution 155 Senate Resolution 155 (S. Res.155), was proposed by US Senate Republican majority leader Trent Lott. For a full history, visit www.tartanday.org/history.

The National New York Tartan Day Committee are the organizers of the New York Tartan Day Parade and comprise of Founding Members – The St. Andrew’s Society of the State of New York, New York Caledonian Society, The American-Scottish Foundation and most recent member Clan Campbell. To learn more, visit www.nyctartanweek.org.

New Art Jewellery Exhibition In New York By Maria Doulton, Founder of The Jewellery Editor

String of Pearls with Gold Clasp, 2003 by Kim Buck, in silver and 18ct gold. Gifted to MAD by Annie and Otto Johs, Detlefs' Charitable Foundation, 2012. Photo credit: Ole Akhoej.

String of Pearls with Gold Clasp by Kim Buck, in silver and 18ct gold. Gifted to MAD by Annie and Otto Johs, Detlefs’ Charitable Foundation, 2012. Photo credit: Ole Akhoej.

While many pieces of jewellery are described as works of art because of the craftsmanship involved, some are literal works of art, like those on show at the Museum of Arts And Design in New York (MAD). Until 2 June, you can view a 130-strong collection of exceptional art jewellery, acquired by MAD over the past five years, as part of its new exhibition, Wear It Or Not. Add to this the vast archive of jewellery in MAD’s permanent collection and you have one very good reason to head to Manhattan.

As the title of the exhibition suggests, it is difficult to know whether these pieces have been designed to be worn, or displayed as you would a sculpture. Blurring the line between jewellery and art, it’s a fascinating mix of conceptual jewellery by avant-garde jewellers of the past, artists and the most imaginative artist jewellers at work today.

Ring Swallowing a Pearl by Heather White van Stolk, 18ct gold and pearl. Gift to MAD by Mobilia Gallery, in honour of Vincenta Mary Seifert, 2008. Photo credit: Matthew Cox.

Ring Swallowing a Pearl by Heather White van Stolk, in 18ct gold and pearl. Gifted to MAD by Mobilia Gallery, in honour of Vincenta Mary Seifert, 2008. Photo credit: Matthew Cox.

Some pieces, such as Heather White van Stolk’s Ring Swallowing a Pearl, are beautifully realised and wearable jewels. Turning the classic idea of a ring on its head, a tiny pearl nestles in a concave gold surround. A twisted necklace by Jocelyn Kolb, made up of a concertina of nylon folds, incorporates hidden LED lights, and Arjen Noordeman and Christie Wright’s horn bracelet is part jewellery, part musical instrument. One of a series of functioning pieces of audio jewellery, put it to you lips, blow and out comes a convincing trumpet sound.

Horn Bracelet, 2010, by Arjen Noordeman and Christie Wright, in porcelain and gold lustre. MAD museum purchase, with funds provided by the Collections Committee, 2011. Photo credit: Louise te Poele.

Horn Bracelet by Arjen Noordeman and Christie Wright, in porcelain and gold lustre. MAD museum purchase, with funds provided by the Collections Committee, 2011. Photo credit: Louise te Poele.

Other exhibits sit more comfortably in the realm of art, like jeweller Kiff Slemmons’ The Pointilist. One part knuckle duster, four parts sharpened pencil, it could double as a lethal weapon. When Kim Buck’s beautiful series of silver and gold brooches are placed together, they show the perfect imprint of a string of pearls. And William Harper’s self-portrait in ls is a wonder to behold. A wooden cask, pierced with nails of all shapes and sizes and containing an eclectic assortment of treasures, you could pore over it for hours.

Wear It Or Not runs until 2 June 2013 at the Museum of Arts And Design in NYC.

Maria Doulton is the founder of The Jewellery Editor.

The Very First ‘VeryFirstTo’ Awards By Hannah Norman

Director Gurinder Chadha and overall winner Zaha Hadid

Director Gurinder Chadha and Woody Yao, Associate Director at overall winner Zaha Hadid

Awards ceremonies, despite the celebration and recognition of the talents of the winners, are understandably geared towards the achievements of those who are already established. There are very few that focus solely on awarding the up-and-coming – but from whiskey to wine, handbags to hotels, if it’s new or undiscovered, (and in the luxury arena), VeryFirstTo will already have it on their radar.

The very first VeryFirstTo Awards on Wednesday 9th January were a very poignant way of both celebrating the latest innovations and inventions, and bringing them to the attention of an eager crowd who had been invited to this exclusive do.

With an impressive Luxeforecast covering every aspect of the luxury arena, VeryFirstTo had managed to whittle down an extensive list of new products and services to just forty finalists. The Awards were split into six categories (Fashion Accessories, Health & Beauty, Home, Leisure, Tech and Venues), with one overall winner (before you ask, Zaha Hadid was awarded this honour, for the Z.Boat).

Despite only being in its infancy, VeryFirstTo is perfectly placed to continue to bring the newest ideas to the forefront of luxury consciousness. They may be an embodiment of the very thing they are trying to endorse, but this is one innovation that can surely only grow.

Zaha Hadid's Z.Boat

Zaha Hadid’s Z.Boat

London Fashion Week – A Stylist’s Perspective By Tamara Cincik

Before London Fashion Week, there is a tipping point where anticipation meets anxiety: the fear that I will have no tickets to any of the shows, despite working hard all season on some killer shoots for some great magazines; and then the universal fashion editor’s fear that I have nothing to wear, despite having numerous wardrobes at home literally spilling open with clothes and shoes on a daily basis.

To off-set the first, the postman’s daily deliveries of a multitude of colourful envelopes displaced any nervousness I might have had; while two timely phone calls- one to the lovely Sara at RMG And Co, the PR for The House of Worth, the other to Lizzie from Mishka Vintage – meant without even dipping into the nether regions of my wardrobes (yes, wardrobes!) other than for some key accessories, I was able to sport some amazing clothes for the endless list of shows and events. As with every season, the gaggle of bloggers and assault course of photographers which meet you when you try to walk, without stumbling, across the cobblestones at Somerset House expands into an army of camera lenses, feeling like you are dressed for the day is ever more important. From a Bill Gibb brown leather coat with silver bee embroidery, so rare that at the Issa show, Zandra Rhodes begged me to donate it to her Fashion Museum, a fantastically chic black lace Worth coat and Peter Pan collared chiffon dress, perfect for a deeply chic fashion party, to a retro double act of a Bus Stop striped suit, teamed with a YSL coat so contemporary in its shape with its raised shoulders and slim cut that I wish Hedi Slimane had seen it for inspiration for this season. Like Cinderella camera-ready for the ball, I felt not only show-appropriate, but allowing myself some fun at the stylist’s best game of all, that of dressing up….

Vauxhall Fashion Scout is hosted at the Freemason’s Hall, a location filled with the best interior styling in London, that often I wonder how the shows will surpass this symbolised vision of stars, pentangles and stained glass. Portia from Pop PR hosts several of her shows there, and it was here I dashed uphill in Gina peep-toed heeled boots from Somerset House (no mean feat, awful pun!), for a selection of shows. One highlight was by newcomer to London, Turkish designer Zeynep Tosun: Elizabethan style leather ruffs, pattern embossed over knee boots, which matched the embroidered sleeves on a slouchy biker jacket, jet beads on black velvet teamed with the sheerest chiffon, fluted pencil skirts and wide legged trousers, all served in a palette of autumnal reds, yellows, browns, black and white. This was a confident collection from a London newcomer and one I feel certain we will hear more from very soon.

London Fashion Week is a fantastic opportunity to catch up with fellow fashion editors: sitting next to me at the Temperley show held in the Dorchester Ballroom was the lovely Tiffany Fraser Steele, whom I interned for at Tatler, and is now Senior Fashion Editor at Marie Claire. The collection was a cool customer of chic, inspired by Hitchcock’s leading lady Tippi Hedren. From a white swing coat, falling open over a chevron patterned black dress, teamed with soft black leather gloves, to Swarovski embellished collars, worn with polo-necked dresses and accessorised with white driving gloves, this was a collection perfect for cocktail hour and off-duty starlets. Bernard Chandran’s show had a similarly Hitchcock sensibility, styled by my friend Karen Binns, with Kim Novak as this show’s ice blonde heroine. Handbags were tightly taut to the elbow, while block coloured satin silhouettes were teamed with matching coloured polo-necked balaclavas (a trend in the making), topped with Oriental-style hats.

At the Osman show, I was seated next to the lovely Virginia, whose collection of vintage gorgeousness has been used by many designers as an inspiration for their collections. Her shop’s basement is an ode to Miss Havisham: visions of the palest pastel chiffon and lace, from virginal white Victorian underwear to delicate deco bias-cut dresses. These vintage clothes are a tutorial in craftsmanship, worthy of any fashion show. The Osman show was softer and somehow sexier than I have seen from him in previous collections. The dropped 90s style sleeve (a strong trend for all the collections) was in evidence: from a short-sleeved grey coat, teamed with brocade trousers and draped blouse, to an assymetrical hemmed gilt-hued dress, or an embroidered cream and gold cape. The coherent palette of winter whites, iridescent metallics and soft tones flowing into a strong black finale felt confident and is certain to sell well.

Roksanda Ilincic designed my wedding dress and very lucky I was too to wear something so fabulously fairy tale designed by a woman who wears her own designs, and therefore knows just where to place a zip or a pleat, to make her customer look as beautiful with as little fuss as possible. It sounds simple, but given the amount of complex designs out there, I can tell you that sadly it isn’t. Roksanda showed at the Savoy Ballroom, conveniently located close to Somerset House, but rather than a simple catwalk, has the feel of a latter-day couture show, with it’s Tiffany blue and gold walls and mirrored panels. For the show however, it was subverted with carpeted walls in pinks and pastels, designed by Gary Card, to hint at the colours in the collection. Pinks and greys were off-set by orange and lurid green. Roksanda is known for her clever colour combinations and this season didn’t disappoint. If the carpets and wood hinted at 70s suburbia, there was a subversion at the centre of this collection, with maroon woollen dresses and wide pleated skirts, teamed with black PVC T-shirts and sports jackets.

While Paul Smith’s evening show was hosted at Tate Britain, a 70s referenced collection of stylish separates, Meadham Kirchhoff’s show was held at The Tate Modern. I walked over from Somerset House across the river with stylist Sasa Thomann, admiring the view and chatting about the season. We entered the Topshop show space to Ravel’s Bolero, which lead me into daydreams of Torville and Dean. I was expecting therefore something dreamy, light and fit for ice-skaters. Whilst their signature, fast-paced, over-all-too-quickly show took each of us by surprise, it was as much for this season’s commercialism as for the beauty of the collection. Gone were the witches and puppets, the painted dolls and raver goddesses; in their place was a subversive take on Marc Jacob’s 60s monochrome SS13 world, with Chanel-style jackets, a PVC apron central panel over a double-breasted white coat and my personal favourite, a black velvet long dress with white chiffon collar and hem of patterned white lace, perfect for the Russian blogger star, oligarch’s wife and fashion big-spender Ulyana Sergeenko in its poetic romance.

My last London show of the season was Ziad Ghanem, which Sasha Lilic urged Tara St Hill and I to come with him to see, after enjoying the beautifully mature collection by Maria Grachvogel (that lady knows how to drape!), and the last-day-on-earth-so-let’s-enjoy-it eccentricity of the Ashish show, styled by my ex-assistant and bridesmaid Anna Trevelyan. Ziad Ghanem clearly has cult and underground in his very DNA; the make-up alone was fantastic: a vision of colour and drama, inspired by transvestites and 50s glamour. The models were a celebration of quirky casting – tattooed, curvaceous drag queens: each one a different, divergent sense of beauty and all cheered along by the buoyant crowd. From a canary yellow cat bowed blouse, worn with a slim cut African printed bold back split skirt, to a lilac taffeta wide-hipped skirt, worn with a poppy embroidered hand-painted blouse and 70s style turban, this was a happy collection, which the audience adored. When the finale came with a soundtrack of Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, the crowd clapped along smiling, not a fashion pout amongst them.

To see more of Tamara’s work, visit www.tamaracincik.com

Less Is More In Jewellery As The Price of Gold Soars By Simon Brooke

Image courtesy of LaPresse

Image courtesy of LaPresse

The weather might have been cold and grey, and the economic climate even more hostile and depressing, but the atmosphere at the recent VicenzaOro Jewellery Fair in northern Italy was warm and inviting. In fact, the event has been busier than ever in the last few years with a vast expansion in the purpose-built facility planned for this autumn. Jewellers and jewellery buyers were complaining about exhausting schedules, but they were buying and selling as if the recession simply didn’t exist.

The manic activity is all the more surprising given the rise in the price of gold in recent years. Having doubled between 2005 and 2010, according to the London Bullion Market Association, it’s now up at $1,675 and analysts at Capital Economics forecast the price will hit $2,200 (£1,395) an ounce by the end of this year. Diamonds too are experiencing greater demand from the new markets of the Far East. In India, more brides from the fast-growing, newly affluent middle class, for instance, are expecting to have diamond and gold jewellery as part of their dowry and wedding services. Chinese demand for diamonds has tripled over the last decade and growth is set to expand.

Image courtesy of LaPresse

Image courtesy of LaPresse

“Chinese customers are increasingly interested in coloured diamonds,” says Jenny Jing, Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar Jewellery China. They’re also increasingly interested in home grown Chinese talent as well as the well-known Western designers, she reports.

So the demand and the activity is certainly there but the recession, the increasing price of raw materials and the current move away from ostentatious wealth is manifesting itself in a more subtle way. Designs are becoming lighter with finer, more detailed work. Less gold is being used but there is a greater focus on design and intricate cutting. As the amount of materials involved in each piece is reduced, more craftsmanship is being applied. Diamonds are smaller and are even being sliced. To put it bluntly, consumers are choosing rings, necklaces and bracelets with less of the raw material and more open space. There is an old joke in the jewellery trade about the billionaire who hands a jeweller a gold bar and asks him to make a ring out of it. “What kind of ring do you want?” asks the jeweller, looking the gold bar. “Just a drill a hole in it,” comes the reply. Not any more. These days, when it comes to materials the trend is towards quality not quantity.

Image courtesy of LaPresse

Image courtesy of LaPresse

“Over the last three to four years greater attention has been paid to materials,” says Paola de Luca, Forecaster & Creative Director at Trendvision Jewellery & Forecasting. “Because of the rise in the price of gold, among other factors, the new aesthetic is about fine jewellery.” Jewellers are also using a greater range of materials to reduce their reliance on gold and to create this new, lighter, finer look, she explains. “They might mix precious and non-precious materials together,” she says. Prompted by the need to use less gold and fewer diamonds, designers are looking to history and to other cultures for inspiration and to learn new techniques. “Polki is an Indian way of slicing diamonds which goes back to the days of the Mughals. This means that designs are becoming even more diverse and much more complex.”

Using few precious materials but working them more finely and adding other non-precious materials means that there is a great focus on the ingredients of the piece. This trend chimes in with the move towards greater customer knowledge, as luxury customers want to learn more about the products that they are wearing and using. Traceability is important, too, as customers want to know where the increasingly diverse materials used in their piece are coming from. “It also allows designers to become more creative,” says Paola de Lucca – and that’s always a good thing after all.

A Gourmet Experience At The American Express World Luxury Expo In Riyadh By The Luxury Channel

In association with The Saudi Investment Bank, Riyadh, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, played host to the American Express World Luxury Expo. Guests were treated to the finest hospitality experience at the palatial Ritz-Carlton Hotel from the 10th – 12th February 2013.

Image courtesy of World Luxury Group

Image courtesy of World Luxury Group

Under the patronage of Her Highness Princess Nouf Bint Faisal Bin Turki Al Saud, Chairperson of Nayyara Exhibitions, the highly anticipated three day exhibition showcased many of the world’s leading luxury brands and services, from a broad selection of luxury categories, to a highly discerning and select group of VIP guests from across the Kingdom. Whilst enjoying the Expo, the invited guests enjoyed sampling the finest caviar, courtesy of Golden Caviar, gourmet chocolates from Godiva, canapés and refreshments prepared by the chefs of The Ritz-Carlton.

Sami El Natour, Chief Marketing Officer at American Express Saudi Arabia Limited, said “As title sponsor of The American Express World Luxury Expo, Riyadh, we offered even more exclusive benefits to our Card members and invited guests, who attended the event and enjoyed the hospitality on offer.”

Image courtesy of World Luxury Group

Image courtesy of World Luxury Group

The Expo featured carefully selected exhibitors from luxury categories including fine art, high-end jewellery, fashion, hand-crafted time pieces, designer furniture, fine dining, luxury sports cars, private aviation and luxury travel. All participating exhibitors are leaders in their respective fields, showcasing superior quality and perfection.

The American Express World Luxury Expo, Riyadh, in association with The Saudi Investment Bank, followed the successful Dubai Event hosted at the iconic Burj Al Arab last month.

Watch out for The Luxury Channel’s dedicated lifestyle channel, broadcasting live from the Middle East in 2013.

London Collections: Menswear By Rosalind Milani Gallieni

Highlights

Monday 7th January

London is indeed the home of menswear; think Savile Row and classic tailoring. GQ editor Dylan Jones explains: “(London)…invented youth culture, and it continues to produce the best young designers in the world. Why would a menswear designer choose to show anywhere else?”

Dylan Jones

On the first full day of shows for the second LC:M, the celebrations kicked off with a presentation by Belstaff. With the likes of David Gandy, Tommy Hilfiger and Jodie Kidd all checking out the jackets, it’s no surprise that the show was received with great praise. Chief creative officer Martin Cooper describes the inspiration behind the new collection as “amazing winter motorcycle jackets and aviation pieces that Belstaff produced during the war.”

Lou Dalton was up next at The Hospital Club show space at Endell Street with an eclectic mix of two tone safari jackets, bombers and oversized tartan, boiled wool suits, mohair knits and patent trenches.

Lou Dalton

Over to swimwear specialists Orlebar Brown at 7a Langley Street and who better than Tinie Tempah to be sat front row to watch the ‘Miami vibes’ cruise down the catwalk.

Benedict Cumberbatch sat alongside fellow British actors Dominic Cooper, Jack Fox and TV presenter Rick Edwards at the Bally presentation and John Smedley offers up roll necks and ultra fine fairisle knits before lunchtime saw the hotly anticipated Topman show at New Oxford Street for an influx of arctic white outerwear. Gordon Richardson, Topman Design’s creative director, explained that “an early gentleman explorer” was central to this look for next autumn.

Up next was Lee Roach back at The Hospital Club. He explains his new collection is designed for “the uncompromising man” with never-disappointing, structured monochrome.

Next was CP Company, before the annual London Collections: Men launch event and the MAN showcase. Showing this year included the ever-popular Agi & Sam, who says the look is inspired by the Marquess of Bath, with a modern take on the tux, faux-fur bombers at Astrid Andersen and Craig Green.

Newcomers Bobby Abley and Kit Neale offered plenty of sportswear and inspired knits but the highlight of the afternoon was surely awarded to Joseph Turvey at Fashion East and the added accessories onstage in the form of real life puppies to accompany the 101 Dalmatian prints.

Up next was the always-impressive Hackett and even more impressive location at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Designer Jeremy Hackett explains: “With the revival of cabaret in London, the style reflects the glamour of the 20s and 30s,” offering the best of British.

Tuesday 8th January

Day 2 of LC:M and first up this morning was the always star-studded, invitation-only Burberry presentation. Never one to disappoint, the show offered up the usual quintessentially British heritage style.

Next up was Margaret Howell. She explains how she “…continues to be inspired by fabric,” which is obvious from the plethora of berets, pea coats and knits on display.

Up next was Aitor Throup’s surreal show, with a keen eye for detail in the exquisite tailoring.

Other highlights included Nicole Farhi at George Street and the launch of Mr Porter’s London Collections line. The online menswear retailer has teamed up with four LC:M designers: Matthew Miller, Richard Nicoll’s yellow merino knits, Sibling and Katie Eary graphic prints.

Richard Nicoll

Jonathan Saunders offered yet another stunning show of bold colours at Southampton Row and a seasonal treat courtesy of Richard James: scarves printed with autumn leaves, matching bobble hats and scarves paired with thick winter knitwear.

Up next on the schedule was Christopher Shannon, a London fashion week staple and always well received. He explains: “I am always keen to bring new finishes and processes to the way we do things and up the quality as much as possible,” obvious with an eclectic mix of sportswear and Kickers boots.

Christopher Shannon

Then onto the Savile Row presentation; styled by GQ’s Jo Levin, the presentation at Spencer House showcased forty perfect examples of Savile Row’s finest tailoring – from black tie to military dress.

Never one to blend it, the next location on the list was the epitome of luxurious fashion, Harrods of Knightsbridge, for the hotly anticipated Vivienne Westwood’s MAN show. Expected graphic, vulgar, bold and outrageous designs that we have come to expect from the eclectic Dame.

Into the evening saw Oliver Spencer offering some beautiful footwear – tasselled loafers and boots, plus classic shearling jackets but the highlight of Day 2 at LC:M saw the Alexander McQueen evening at The McQueen Show, which debuted with a striking Autumn/Winter 2013 collection.

Wednesday 9th January

The final day of LC:M kicked off with an excited buzz while waiting for the iconic fashion designer Tom Ford, who was presenting menswear in London for the first time this year. The award-winning designer, and the man behind James Bond’s infamous sleek style in Skyfall presented his A/W13 collection. He explains to The Telegraph: “My clothes are designed with an international customer in mind, and London is one of the most international cities on the planet.” On show were classic trench coats and printed roll necks, stunning suits checks and beautiful loafers. Worth the wait!

But first, kicking off the morning at the BFC show space on New Oxford Street was the BFA-winning Christopher Raeburn, who led with his strongest hand: outerwear, followed by the likes of JW Anderson embracing all things feminine with male skirts, bustiers and boots, Hardy Amies showcasing autumnal checks and soft cable knit jumpers, and E Tautz’ orange and grey palette and plenty of check.

Then it was off to Covent Garden Odeon Cinema for Baartmans & Siegel’s presentation of bold, athletic outerwear and tweedy suits.

David Gandy

Lunchtime presented stripes and more stripes at Shaun Samson before heading back to the Hospital Club for Katie Eary and a collection of rose print topcoats, then onto the Old Sorting Office for Matthew Miller with a praised collection of emblazoned knitwear and oversized rucksacks.

Xander Zhou, Angelo Galasso in SW3 and Nutters of Savile Row x Peter Werth on Coventry Street complete season 2 of this year’s LC:M.

Wallpaper* hosted an intimate cocktail at Hauser & Wirth to celebrate a unique collaboration between Annabelle Selldorf, Hardy Amies, Spencer Hart and Richard James and that marks the end of a successful second year for the British Fashion Council, highlighting just how far menswear has come in the world of fashion. Until next year!

VistaJet Makes Aviation Sales History With Largest Single Transaction By Hannah Norman

Having placed a single order for 56 Bombardier jets, and options for a further 86, luxury aviation company VistaJet has made sales history, with a total order value of $7.8 billion. The Luxury Channel was in conversation with Steven Ridolfi, President of Bombardier Business Aircraft, at a special lunch held to mark this momentous order.

Mr. Ridolfi commented that, “By any standard, this is a historic order for Bombardier. It goes without saying that we are thrilled VistaJet has again chosen to grow their fleet with the industry-leading Bombardier Global family.”

Having recently taken delivery of its 50th aircraft, VistaJet are looking at immediate, sustained expansion, with their new order comprising of 25 Global 5000*, 25 Global 6000*, and 6 Global 8000* aircraft, with options for a further 40 Global 5000, 40 Global 6000 and 6 Global 8000 jets. Delivery of the jets will commence from 2014. The order cements VistaJet’s ability to provide a truly global luxury aviation service, ensuring previously hard-to-reach destinations are now firmly etched onto their worldwide radar.

Thomas Flohr, VistaJet’s Founder and Chairman, said that “this order is the most significant milestone for VistaJet.” He added, “Our customers need to fly point-to-point across the globe, and in many instances at short notice. Whether it’s a direct flight from Los Angeles to Shanghai, from London to Luanda or from Kinshasa to Ulan Bator, we are seamlessly connecting our customers to every corner of the world in unrivalled levels of style and safety. Such customer success allows us to place this historic order and will enable us to base even more brand new aircraft in these dynamic growth markets. I am excited to serve these markets with an unparalleled product both locally and globally.”

It’s this attention to detail – such as recognizing that customers need to fly at short notice – that has ensured VistaJet is now one of the biggest business aviation organisations in the world, with dedicated crews on standby to offer guaranteed availability 24/7, ready to fly to even the remotest destinations on the planet.

The sky, quite simply, is not their limit.

Diageo Reserve Announces World Class Bartender of The Year 2012 By The Luxury Channel

Following a week of mixology trends unveiled, red carpet events and a showcase of the industry’s brightest stars, Tim Philips from Hemmesphere cocktail bar in Australia was crowned Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year 2012 and hailed as the industry’s newest mixology talent, rising above 50 other finalists to win the most prestigious accolade of the industry.

Philips captivated judges with his winning signature serve, a twisted chic cocktail: Hot Toddy Australia, made with Johnnie Walker®Gold Label Reserve™ Blended Scotch Whisky, honey, cinnamon quill, ginger and innovative technique.

Following in the footsteps of mixology giants Manabu Ohtake, Erik Lorincz and Aristotelis Papadopoulos, he displayed exceptional style and technique, truly showing the artisanship of his craft and a talent beyond his 28 years. Hailing from Hemmesphere cocktail bar in Sydney, Australia, Philips’ brilliant creative vision, passion and commanding presence behind the bar personifies the relenting standards, showmanship and professionalism that success in the industry demands.

Over the past year, contenders from the most esteemed bars around the world have competed in local and regional heats, each aspiring to attain a coveted place at the Diageo Reserve World Class Global Final in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – an internationally renowned highlight in the luxury calendar. Just 50 from over 15,000 hopefuls were selected to showcase their creations in front of some of the most revered names in the industry – Salvatore Calabrese, Dale de Groff, Peter Dorelli, Gary Regan, Daniel Estremadoyro, Hidetsugu Ueno, Arturo Savage, Steve Olson and Aristotelis Papadopoulos.

Tim said of his win, “I am thrilled and humbled to be awarded Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year amongst all the exceptional talent I was competing alongside this week. Diageo Reserve World Class is taking bartending from a humble trade to a profession. If I can be an ambassador for that, it’s a dream come true. I have been inspired this week by the high standards and limitless talent and look forward to the year ahead, travelling the world, meeting my peers and continuing to create experiences through my creations that immerse customers in another world.”

Congratulating the winner of the fourth global Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year, Rudy Paoli, Managing Director of Global Reserve, said: “Tim is the epitome of a Diageo Reserve World Class bartender and this prestigious accolade will set him on a life changing journey. He will become a recognized industry name and travel the world as a Diageo Reserve World Class Ambassador, championing the art and craft of the bartender by educating and inspiring new talent, participating in international high-profile events and transforming fine drinking and cocktail culture.”

Diageo Reserve World Class judge Ueno Hidetsugu, added, “To succeed within Diageo Reserve World Class, you must possess boundless creativity, precision, a sense of showmanship and an innate ability to connect with the customer. Each year I am astounded and inspired by the level of talent, skill and innovation that the participants bring to the Global Final Week. Tim blew me away with his ingenuity, vision, and insightful interpretation of the Retro Chic trend and is an ideal ambassador for our profession.”

Challenges at the Global Final required bartenders to explore fast-growing industry trends, with a particular focus on Retro Chic, a global luxury trend encapsulating the glamour and simplicity of the golden era of the 50s and 60s. Retro Chic has infused the maisons of fashion, design, art and stylized TV shows and was expressed throughout the 2012 Global Final Mixology Challenges, giving rise to the latest, most inspiring new serves.

Follow the competition on Facebook at the ‘Global World Class Finals’ page, www.facebook.com/GlobalWorldClassFinals

Brilliant – A Collection Curated By Carol Woolton By The Luxury Channel

Brilliant

Masterpiece London is the ultimate destination for the world’s most extraordinary items. “Brilliant” showcases the finest diamond jewellery considered to be innovative one-off pieces. It is structured into four artistic disciplines – art, architecture, fashion and sculpture.

The exhibition is geared toward selling, and private inquiries about the collection can be made via info@bochic.com in the US.

Bochic jewellery (known for its work with Karolina Kurkova, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Rihanna, Scarlett Johannson, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Chastain and more) has been chosen as one of the 25 “best of the best” designers from around the world. In honour of “Brilliant,” British-born designer and Creative Director David A. Joseph created a collection labelled “Caged Beauty.” The Bochic “Caged Beauty” collection encapsulates the Far-East-meets-Moscow — the Bochic woman’s journey on the Trans-Siberian railway.

Inspired by the historic Silk Road, which was known for connecting trade routes between Asia, Eastern and Western Europe, there are hand-crafted elements like miniature carved mammoth ivory figurines, illuminated by gilded cages of oxidized gold and diamonds – illustrating how the trade activities brought together cultures that would otherwise have stayed separate much longer. The cages are a metaphor of the Bochic woman who is being seduced by the visuals outside the train windows and the allure of new discovery.

“Diamonds are timeless. By employing them in an updated way – by mixing different cuts and colours – I can highlight other materials, thereby making the design the main event. Diamonds are most intriguing to me in their organic state, just as you would find them in nature and along the route of the Silk Road. They still have their brilliance, but are more mysterious and captivating.” — David A. Joseph, Creative Director of Bochic, www.bochic.com.

According to Carol Woolton: “With the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee putting a spotlight on the Crown Jewels and historic Royal Regalia, “Brilliant” will show how diamonds, imbued with their own billion year old history and majestic role in Britain’s heritage, remain relevant in our modern lives and at the forefront of ground-breaking contemporary design.”

Following the exhibition, the complete Bochic “Caged Beauty” Collection will be launched exclusively with Annoushka for the UK market – both online at www.annoushka-jewellery.com as well as in the boutiques located at Liberties, Harvey Nichols, Harrods and the free standing store locations.

www.masterpiecefair.com

A Cocktail Tour of New York By Scott Manson

One of the best ways to quickly get a feel for a new city is by visiting one of its bars or pubs. War correspondents have a saying for this – it’s called covering the story from ‘mahogany ridge’ – and nowhere is that phrase more apt than the beautifully kept wooden bartops of some of New York’s best cocktail bars.

The spiritual home of the cocktail is currently enjoying a revival in drink mixology, thanks in no small part to the popularity of the TV series Mad Men, which sees Don Draper and the gang reach for the highball glass at every available opportunity.

Smaller speakeasy style spots have opened up, away from the tourist trap zones and gaining notoriety on a slow word-of-mouth basis.

With this in mind, I’ve enlisted Dale DeGroff, a master mixologist and native New Yorker dubbed as ‘the King of Cocktails’, to be my drinking partner and tour guide for the evening. Like the Mad Men, Dale is an old-time advertising exec, although he’s now better known as a multi-award winning bartender who spearheaded the Manhattan cocktail scene throughout the 80s.

We also have a film crew in tow, who are capturing this spirit-fuelled odyssey for Expedia.co.uk’s People Shaped Travel video series, which reveals unique experiences in cities around the world. Sadly, they’ll be sticking to soft drinks all night. Sorry chaps.

Our cocktail safari starts at Employees Only, one of the pioneers of the new speakeasy movement and a favoured watering hole for New York hipsters.

Dushan Zaric, co-owner and bartender lovingly crafts a Provencal cocktail for us – lavender-infused Plymouth gin mixed with dry vermouth, Cointreau and herbs de Provence, finished with a flaming peeled orange – while outlining the bar’s philosophy.

“The speakeasy was where when the fun happened during Prohibition,” he says. “Women started to socially drink in public, everyone was breaking the law. It was a sexy, carefree time. We are celebrating that feeling.”

I’d love to linger but Dale is keen to show me the next hotspot, a Soho-based artisanal cocktail lounge called Lana Kai.

Sidling up to the bar with the practiced ease of a man used to getting served first, he introduces me to owner Julie Reiner.

“When I heard about a place doing wild recipes with peaches, tea and blood oranges I knew I had to check it out,” he says.

There’s a big city meets the tropics feel to the place – like a blend of the Manhattan cocktail with a Mai Tai – and it fits perfectly with the pulse and edge of Gotham.

We try a Gold Coast Punch, a mixture of aged rum, allspice syrup, pineapple, lime juice and a champagne splash. It’s the South Pacific in an oversized brandy balloon.

“This whole place is a love letter to my native Hawaii,” explains Reiner.

Our final nightcap comes at PJ Clarkes, a Manhattan institution with, says Dale, New York’s best bartender at the helm.

He is Doug Quinn, impeccably clad in old school ensemble of white shirt and bow tie, and the bartender of choice if you are after the true Mad Men-style cocktail drinking experience.

“That TV show has definitely driven sales of more traditional drinks,” he says. “Gibsons, Sidecars, the Old-Fashioned, Manhattans, people have developed a taste for tried and tested authenticity.”

As we retire to a table once permanently reserved for Frank Sinatra when he was in town, Dale DeGroff looking every inch the cocktail patriarch, I notice the other bar staff looking at him in almost reverential awe.

Clearly, for New Yorkers, the cocktail is king.

www.kingcocktail.com

How to do it

Four nights room only at the five-star The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park is from £1,059 per person, based on two sharing a Statue of Liberty view room. This includes direct return flights from London Heathrow to JFK with American Airlines, departing on 1st December 2011. Located three blocks from Wall Street, this luxury hotel is a short walk from Battery Park, the Statue of Liberty ferry terminal and National September 11 Memorial.

For reservations, visit www.expedia.co.uk or call 0330 123 1235.

An Epicurean Feast with Quintessentially By The Luxury Channel

A two-day luxurious gastronomic event in London with Quintessentially.

20% off the ticket price for The Luxury Channel readers.

Quintessentially Epicure

Quintessentially Epicure, a two-day luxurious gastronomic event sponsored by Coutts, will be taking place at one of London’s most exquisite venues, The Hurlingham Club on the 9th and 10th of September.

Luxury Channel readers are invited to come and meet the world’s most renowned chefs and international gourmet producers and taste the finest wines and spirits, at an event that promises to be two days of epicurean bliss.

There will be demonstrations, tastings, and an opportunity to learn about global trends and innovations in the food and beverage industry. Participating brands including Taittinger, Johnnie Walker Blue Label, La Masion du Chocolate, Pierre Hermé boutiques, Rougié Fois Gras, Imperial Caviar, Badoit, Evian, Oliveology, Iberica, Ibiza Delivers, Quintessentially Travel, Delonghi and more.

Quintessentially Epicure

Participating chefs include

Marcus Wareing, Hélène Darroze, Brett Graham, Giorgio Locatelli, William Curley, John Campbell, Shaun Hill, Pierre Hermé, Phil Howard, Heinz Beck

Location

The Hurlingham Club, Ranelagh Gardens, London, SW6 3PR DATES: Friday 9th September and Saturday 10th September 2011

Booking and Enquiries

For bookings and enquiries please contact tickets@quintessentiallyepicure.com, mention The Luxury Channel for a 20% discount.

Ticket prices start at £100.00 and include complimentary tastings from a range of luxury producers and brands as well as a tasting dish to enjoy from each participating restaurant, fine wines and a glass of tatting champagne upon arrival.

www.quintessentiallyepicure.com

The Winner of the Ultimate Honeymoon Competition 2011 By The Luxury Channel

Caroline Stubbs mimics Elizabeth Barrett Browning to win the honeymoon of a lifetime!

Caroline Stubbs

The Luxury Channel and Quintessentially Travel asked: Why should we send you on 2011′s Ultimate Honeymoon?

This was Caroline’s winning response, an adaptation of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

How do I love thee honeymoon? Let me count the ways

How do I love thee honeymoon? Let me count the ways

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, a honeymoon feels out of sight whilst the ends of recession we meet.I love thee to the level of everyday’s

Most hectic needs, no sun but only candle-light we have recently seen.

I love thee with a passion put to use

in every aspect of my life.

I love thee freely, and we would thrive in sunny light; I would love

thee honeymoon with all my might, Forgetting lost hours spent at work,

I would love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life!

And, if you choose me I shall but love you for making me a very happy newlywed wife.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

The Prize

Caroline and George have won an extravagant 10-day honeymoon voyage to the exotic island of Bali. The prize includes return flights, transfers, a stay in three of the island’s most glamorous resorts – Ananya Resort & Spa in Jimbaran Bay, Uma Ubud and W Retreat & Spa Seminyak. The lucky couple will also be taken on private tours of the island, receive lots of honeymoon pampering, gastronomic delights and couple’s souvenirs from the magical and enchanting land where serenity and cultural charm live in abundance.

They will be treated to a Honeymoon Hamper including a his-and-her VIP style-consultation with Heidi Klein plus £1,000 worth of fabulous beachwear ensuring they look hip and stylish on the beach. They will also walk away with celebrity make-up artist Daniel Sandler’s ‘Bridal Beauty kit’ – filled to the brim with all the make-up treats you could possibly require on your honeymoon, Ila Spa’s ‘Glowing Radiance Range’ of oils and creams and a bottle of Sunleÿa Soin Solaire – Sisley’s iconic sun-cream for natural and safe bronzing.

Congratulations!

Flying Art By The Luxury Channel

What happens when street art meets a luxury airline?

Retna Vista Jet

The pairing of a L.A. based street artist and the world of corporate jets may not seem an obvious one, but it’s certainly colourful. Luxury aviation company Vista Jet, bored of the traditional and sometimes staid approach to air travel, is radically making over its fleet of Bombardier aircraft for 2011.

As revealed at EBACE 2011 in Geneva in May, not only have the cabin interiors enjoyed a makeover (now including Christofle silverware and china, luxurious cashmere soft furnishings, eye-masks and socks and on-board snacks provided by Harvey Nichols) but the exterior has too.

The work of L.A. based street artist RETNA has been exhibited all over the world (including London, between 9th – 27th June 2011) but now he’s gone one step further and will be exhibiting above the world – about 50,000 ft above to be precise – after creating a unique work on the tail of one of VistaJet’s Global Express XRS aircraft, blending contemporary art with luxury travel.

Identified as a rising star in the world of contemporary art, RETNA’s work draws on an array of influences including Asian calligraphy, Incan and Egyptian hieroglyphics, Hebrew and Arabic script, traditional UK gang-style graffiti and the tagging seen in Los Angeles since the 1970’s. His current Hallelujah World Tour is sponsored by Vista Jet and Bombardier and includes his first UK solo exhibition at The Old Dairy in London from 9th June to 27th June.

www.vistajet.com

RETNA: The Hallelujah World Tour

The Old Dairy, 7 Wakefield St, London, WC1N 1PB

9 June – 27 June 2011

Admission is free.

Fawlsey Hall By The Luxury Channel

A look at one of the most popular wedding venues in England – a luxurious architectural escape to enchant brides-to-be the world over.

Fawsley Hall

When one aims to retreat from the harsh sprawling conurbation, a picture of idyllic England is what springs to mind. Historic, romantic and gloriously idyllic, Fawsley Hall has presence. Situated in the heart of rolling Northamptonshire countryside, the magic of Fawsley Hall is in its Tudor / Georgian / Victorian fused architecture – each wing constructed in a different age with their own subtle nuances and intricacies. The hotel is surrounded by 2,000 acres of rolling park land.

Our room was located in the Georgian wing, on a corner plot with views over the gardens to the south and rolling hills to the east. The decor was magnificently over the top with the same print covering the walls, the chairs, the pillows and even the four-poster bed. The bathroom was enormous to the point of gregarious and the furniture (that wasn’t covered in print) was distressed and cleverly sourced to fit in with the ‘faded opulence’ theme.

Another viewing pleasure was the Great Hall; a cavernous space with an enormous fireplace on one side and a stone-glass enclave on the other. Over-sized sofas, beautiful mock Tudor paintings and a High Tea service, all aim to make the Great Hall a thoroughly enjoyable place to while away the hours at any time of day.

Fawsley Hall

Dining at Fawsley Hall is a culinary experience whether you opt for the fine dining experience of Equilibrium or the simpler styled Bess’s Brasserie. The wines on offer were exquisite and the menu at Equilibrium was expansive and delicious.

The hotel also operates as a very popular wedding venue with a converted barn offering all the necessary facilities and an in-house wedding planner to makes sure everything runs smoothly. With a wedding hosted here every weekend, they clearly know how to organise a party! As part of the wedding experience there is also a Grayshott Spa onsite for any pre or post marital treatments. Available to all guests, the Spa is another string in Fawsley Hall’s bow with classic pampering treatments and packages to bring any guest back to life. We loved the old Vogue covers in mirrored frames and the light, breezy atmosphere of the spa.

Fawsley embodies the romanticism of a bygone age. We happened to wake at sunrise and witnessed the beauty of a landscape filled with sheep, a misty church spire and expansive greenery as a golden hue of sunlight fled through the windows. One fault could be the lag on service but the surroundings are more than enough to distract you from waiting an extra five minutes for that after dinner cocktail. Definitely worth a visit.

Call Fawsley Hall’s wedding coordinator on +44 (0)1327 892027.

www.fawsleyhall.com

An-Tea Establishment By Lauren Steventon

Think Punk Rock playlists, inspired cocktails such as ‘God Save The Queen’ and a retro menu of Great British classics.

An-Tea Establishment

Ok, I’ll admit it. Come Friday I’ll be celebrating with the best of them. I love bunting. I love bank holidays. I love weddings. However I, and the Metropolitan Hotel apparently, know that some of you just aren’t feeling that love. So to prove that tea isn’t always prim and proper, I popped in to try their new limited edition An-Tea Establishment afternoon tea.

It’s a fun take on the Metropolitan’s usual, low-fat Afternoon De-light tea. Think: no bread sandwiches, ingeniously low-fat-yet-tasty cakes, and scones with creme fraiche rather than the good old clotted stuff.

So… We started with a selection of British classic savouries given a modern Met twist. The prawn cocktail was pretty standard, but with a tasty, tangy Marie Rose sauce. Yum. I didn’t have the ‘Fergie’ chorizo quiches, but I loved the savoury cheese and pickle muffin with homemade piccalilli. My tea companion had never tasted this deliciously British spicy preserve and was an instant convert to its wonderful ways. Less convincing was the cucumber jelly with bread foam. The foam really did taste like bread (and quite a bit of butter) but for me the whole thing was a bit squishy. It was a nice idea, though, and well executed.

One thing I was definitely convinced by were the scones. Nice and crumbly-fresh. The creme fraiche is an acquired afternoon tea taste, but does leave you feeling less full and ready to face the cakes: Victoria sponge roly poly, trifle with raspberry compote and low fat custard, macaroons, custard cupcake (topped with a message for the future monarchs: thanks for the free day off) and chocolate and vanilla Battenberg. The latter might have some purists up in arms, but I’m sure they’ll be calmed by the fun Sid and Nancy esq, Union Jack Kate and Wills portrait – God save the Queen (and all that jazz – or punk).

So while it might not have the same effect as a sex, drugs, rock and roll Jubilee boat party down the Thames its a fun idea to while away the extra bank holiday if bunting just isn’t your thing.

The menu will be served in the Met Bar from 22nd April to 8th May 2011 from 3pm – 6pm, Monday to Sunday.

Priced at £27 per person + service. Reservations must be pre-booked by calling +44(0) 20 7447 4757.

www.comohotels.com/metropolitanlondon/dining/met-bar

The Ultimate Honeymoon Competition By The Luxury Channel

Tell us why we should send you and your love on 2011’s ultimate honeymoon…

Ultimate Honeymoon Competition

Quintessentially Travel and The Luxury Channel launch 2011’s Ultimate Honeymoon Competition

Brides and grooms need not despair – the masters of travel couture are here to take care of you; Quintessentially Travel has teamed up with The Luxury Channel’s Wedding Diary to launch 2011’s Ultimate Honeymoon Competition offering one lucky couple the chance to win an unforgettable honeymoon to ‘The Island of the Gods’ – Bali.

www.ultimatehoneymooncompetition.com launches on the 4th April 2011 and will tie in with The Luxury Channel’s three-part Wedding Diary, which follows their magazine editor, Antonia Pearce as she prepares for her wedding day in June.

The winner of the competition will be sent on an extravagant 10-day honeymoon voyage to the exotic island of Bali, worth £8,000. The prize includes return flights, transfers, a stay in three of the island’s most glamorous resorts – Ananya Resort & Spa in Jimbaran Bay, Uma Ubud and W Retreat & Spa Seminyak. The lucky couple will also be taken on private tours of the island, receive lots of honeymoon pampering, gastronomic delights and couple’s souvenirs from the magical and enchanting land where serenity and cultural charm live in abundance.

What’s more, they will be treated to a Honeymoon Hamper including a his-and-her VIP style-consultation with Heidi Klein plus £1,000 worth of fabulous beachwear ensuring they look hip and stylish on the beach. They will also walk away with celebrity make-up artist Daniel Sandler’s ‘Bridal Beauty kit’ – filled to the brim with all the make-up treats you could possibly require on your honeymoon, Ila Spa’s ‘Glowing Radiance Range’ of oils and creams and a bottle of Sunleÿa Soin Solaire – Sisley’s iconic sun-cream for natural and safe bronzing.

If idyllic vistas over tropical shores, secret sands, cool green forests, rice paddies with gentle breezes combined with delicious local delicacies, VIP pampering and indulgences, sounds like your dream post-wedding escape? Then ENTER NOW by visiting www.ultimatehoneymooncompetition.com and tell our Travel Panel in 200 words why we should send you and your love on 2011’s Ultimate Honeymoon.

The competition opens on the 4th April 2011 and the entry deadline is 31st May 2011. The winner will be announced on 6th June 2011. Terms and conditions apply.

Quintessentially Travel is a bespoke luxury travel company and sister company of Quintessentially – the leading global private members’ club and luxury lifestyle group.

As a high-end provider of lifestyle travel worldwide, Quintessentially Travel – a service available to both the discerning general public and Quintessentially members – will advise on and create unforgettable tailor-made itineraries to the globe’s most glamorous, sought-after and remote destinations; organising everything from flights, transfers, hotels and villas to private jets, yachts, private tours and drawing on Quintessentially’s expertise “access to the inaccessible.” Quintessentially Travel provides access to the most elegant and elite properties, whilst offering value-for-money and unique travel experiences, with a service and benefits package unrivalled in the luxury travel market.

To enquire about this exceptional service and experience an unforgettable tailor-made holiday with Quintessentially Travel:

Tel: +44 (0) 845 224 6915.
Email: info@quintessentiallytravel.com

www.quintessentiallytravel.com

The Ultimate Honeymoon Prize

Return Flights

Transfers

3 nights at Ananya Resort & Spa, Jimbaran Bay – Designed to ensure maximum seclusion for every guest, these cliff-top, Ananya’s luxury villas are set in traditional Balinese compounds with private pools surrounded by tropical gardens and majestic ocean views.

3 nights at Uma Ubud, Ubud – With guided treks around the paddy fields each morning, free daily yoga classes, and Como Shambhala’s globally celebrated spa treatments on offer, the mountainside Uma Ubud in central Bali is clearly on a mission to relax and rejuvenate.

3 nights at W Retreat & Spa Bali, Seminyak – Nestled along the shores of Seminyak, Bali’s most upscale enclave, the beachfront W Retreat & Spa Bali-Seminyak eschews literalism when it comes to traditional Balinese design. This uber-chic retreat is guaranteed to excite and is within strolling distance of Bali’s hippest boutiques, eclectic galleries, restaurants and clubs.

Honeymoon Hamper – including an exclusive styling & beachwear wardrobe from Heidi Klein, along with sumptuous Daniel Sandler, ILA Spa and Sisley products.

www.ultimatehoneymooncompetition.com

Daniel Sandler By The Luxury Channel

The Make-up artist to the stars creates three perfect bridal looks.

Daniel Sandler

Over the years, Daniel has worked on both sides of the Atlantic and all over Europe on a number of shoots with high profile fashion photographers for top glossies and with designers backstage at a number of major fashion shows and a regular on national TV. Daniel continues to work with high profile celebs getting them ready for red carpet events as well as customers at his Urban Retreat Makeup Studio in the most famous department store in the world, Harrods, London.

Daniel spent over four years developing his self-titled range, drawing from his experience as a professional makeup artist to create products that simplify makeup for women of all skin tones. His product formulations are of the highest quality (Daniel ensured they met his exceptional standards) are highly innovative and affordable.

Daniel is helping women all over the world look and feel ‘a younger and sexier version of themselves’.

The Products

Country Bride

Mineral Water Base Foundation and Concealer – Fair

Retexturising Face Primer

Eye Shadows:

570 Sheer Satin

Fresco Polychromatic

815 Dimensional Shadow

Long Lasting Waterproof Eyeliner -Brown Velvet

Jumbo Jet -Black Mascara

Brow Matt Shadow 215

Cheeks Water Colour Creme Rouge -Soft Pink

Loose Translucent Powder – Invisible Veil

Lips – Peony High Impact Lip Stick

City Bride

Mineral Water Base Foundation and Concealer – Fair

Retexturising Face Primer

Eye Shadows:

537 Sheer Satin Shadow

573 Sheer Satin Shadow

Long Lasting Waterproof Eyeliner -Grey Velvet

Jumbo Jet -Black Mascara

Blush – Mineral Matte Blush – Natural Beauty

Loose Translucent Powder – Invisible Veil

Lips – Eve Red- All About Eve Charity Collection

Destination Bride

Base- Water Base, Dark

Retexturising Face Primer

Mineral Finishing Powder – All Over Bronze – Brazilian Bronze

Blush – Water Colour Creme Rouge in Soft Peach

Shadows:

Fresco Polychromatic

216 Matte Eyes

Lip – Lipshine SPF 15 in Tangerine


With thanks to George Greenwood, Daniel Sandler, Lara Rorich, Lucy Martin and Cara Dattani.

www.danielsandler.com

The Food of Love By The Luxury Channel

The Food of Love

Valentine lovebirds in search of a gastronomic treat and burst of Scottish Highland air should look no further than Ackergill Tower this February.

Two Michelin star chef, Andrew Fairlie, and the Tower’s Head Chef, Kevin Dalgleish, have developed a fabulous foodie demonstration (made from the finest, locally sourced beef, lamb and fresh seafood) and selected an array of indulgent wines for guests at the Tower.

Think Drams and Sloe Gin in the Gun Hall and traditional Scottish Ceilidh and Pipers whilst enjoying Ackergill Tower at its most romantic and intimate. This is just one of the 15th century tower’s many “Open House Party” weekends planned for this year, which allow guests to enjoy this very secluded and beautiful castle in a private capacity.

To book your tickets, call 01955 603 556, or visit www.ackergilltower.co.uk.

Toast To Champagne By Marinel Fitzsimons

A glass of champagne brings sparkle to any event, but what is it about these lovely bubbles that makes it such an emblem of festivities?

A toast to Champagne

This question was addressed in depth at the first ever Champagne Assembly run by Pernod Ricard’s top champagne brands, Perrier Jouët and Mumm.

The head of marketing for Pernod Ricard, Jo Spencer, hoped that the gathering would help ‘‘demystify the brands, bringing together experts in the field of luxury.’’ So what is the current status of our favourite luxury tipple?

It would seem that the new luxury consumer is less ostentatious, favouring the well-established, guaranteed quality brands, rather than the fast fashion labels. The primary focus is on both quality and value for money. This translates into more spending on ‘‘everyday luxuries,’’ such as expensive chocolates, champagne and the best make-up – a phenomenon called ‘‘the lipstick effect.’’

That said, champagne is a problematic addition to this trend. Although an undeniable luxury item, it does not conform to the conventional rules of a luxury product. Fflur Roberts, head of Global Luxury Goods at Euromonitor International, explained that the simplest way of categorising luxury items is by their price relative to the market in which they are on sale. For a product like champagne, this makes things tricky. Firstly, export costs from France and taxes on alcohol (that vary enormously from one country to another) cause complications. Moreover, champagne covers a wide range of price points, from their entry-level non-vintage (NV) brut variants, costing around £25, right up to the bespoke, personal blend option offered by Perrier Jouët, which costs thousands.

Champagne’s extremely short ‘‘party’’ life span stands in contradiction to the traditional luxury consumer motivations – and the demand for timeless, investment worthy goods. The mass availability of champagne in every supermarket, including the less upmarket stores, jars with the idea of an exclusive and selective distribution – elements that are so vital in the luxury market.

However, for many, a party is not a soiree without a bubble or two of the loveliest champagne. Swallowed, gulped or sipped – we drink champagne to show our standards, to spoil our guests and to celebrate. It is a lifestyle luxury product that rises beyond the ‘‘lipstick effect’’ – bringing pleasure and effect. Just remember to re-apply your expensive lippy when the second bottle of champagne is popped!

Tales From the High Seas By The Luxury Channel

We take a look at the best of this year’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Swan Cup.

High Seas

From the 5th to 11th and then the 13th to 19th September 2010, the toast of the sailing world flocked to Porto Cervo, Sardinia for the annual Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup followed by the Rolex Swan Cup. Despite 30-knot mistral winds gusting in to upset racing on the final day of the Swan Cup, the two weeks saw some wonderfully competitive battles.

Powerful yachts cut through the Mediterranean waters with grace and agility, whilespectators looked on from one of the most beautiful stretches of Italy’s coast.Nestling in a beautiful and perfectly sheltered harbour, Porto Cervo is one of the Mediterranean’s most welcoming ports, with seas sparkling by day and the lights of boats twinkling by night.

The beauty of the spot was not lost on the competitors themselves, who reveled in the turquoise waters and sunny skies. EnricoScerni, winner of the Club Swan 42 class and a Porto Cervo veteran, expressed what many at the event seemed to be feeling: ‘This spot is marvelous, one of the best spots to sail. It was a perfect week with marvelous weather. We had a very nice coastal race, some good competition and a lot of fun.’

A final day of great sailing brought the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2010 to a close with the victory of EsimitEuropa 2 (Racing & Racing Cruising), Hetairos (Super Maxi), Ranger (Super Maxi & J Class) and Y3K (Wally) in their respective divisions. NiklasZennstrom’s Ran has been crowned Mini Maxi Rolex World Champion in the inaugural edition of the class championship.

The winners at this year’s Rolex Swan Cup were DaniloSalsi’s DSK PioneerInvestments (ITA) in the Maxi class, Peter Simon’s Monsoon Jaguar (GBR) in the Classic class, P.H.J. Bakker’s SilverenSwaen (NED) in the Grand Prix class, EnricoScerni’sKora 4 (ITA) in the Club Swan 42 class and HendrikBrandis’ Earlybird (GER).

Cox, Cookies & Cake By The Luxury Channel

The Soho cupcake scene is given a designer twist.

Patrick Cox

Patrick Cox has a skill set to make any girl swoon… By that we mean shoes and cupcakes, of course! Not content with producing some of the sexiest footwear in fashion, the designer has recently teamed up with master baker Eric Lanlard to open sweet treat take-away Cox, Cookies & Cake on Soho’s Brewer Street.

This isn’t your usual sugary sweet, pink and pastel cupcake emporium a la Magnolia – this is Soho after all. Interiors are modern, dark and sexy, with a black and neon colour scheme complemented by bespoke artwork by Tracey Emin.

In Cox’s own words to GQ magazine: “I want it to be a very sensual experience when you walk in. I think it should be somewhere between a disco, a sex-shop and a cake shop.” Certainly not your regular cupcakery…

The cakes themselves are, naturally, suitably irreverent, think skulls, red frosting and Cox’s design-style twist on each and every one. Plus, they taste heavenly. That’s the hand of Lanlard, owner of Battersea’s famous Cake Boy, master pâtissier and twice winner of the prestigious Continental Pâtissier of the Year at the British Baking Awards. His impressive CV is evident in the deliciously tasty cakes, and be prepared for a few sweet surprises…

Nutrition Tips for London Fashion Week By Vicki Edgson

Prepared by Vicki Edgson for The Luxury Channel.

Vicki Edgson

Consider your handbag as your travelling kitchen – the perfect way to avoid high-salt or sugary foods whilst going from one show to the next is to select what you need for the whole day and bag them up in mini zip-lock bags to keep everything fresh.

Choose Bounce balls with seeds and spirulina for the perfect 2-bite high-protein, max-energy bar – chewy and delicious, these really pack a punch without causing any bloating! (available from Waitrose, Tesco and Wholefoods)

Pick up M & S mini-bags of unsalted, unroasted cashew nuts – perfect one portion size, cashews contain plenty of brain foods to keep your concentration at a peak, and your wit at its best! Contrary to popular belief, these are NOT fattening in moderation, and really keep the hunger at bay

DON’T chew gum, it won’t suppress your appetite, but it WILL make you bloated! Plus the sweeteners in sugar-free gum will encourage you to crave sugary foods later in the day.

DON’T drink alcohol (particularly champagne) on an empty stomach – it will leave you light-headed and unfocussed and is guaranteed tummy bloater! Have a handful of nuts, olives or half a Bounce Ball before drinking.

Don’t eat salty foods (including anything with soya sauce which is high in sodium) – they will cause fluid retention and fat ankles – an absolute NO-NO at LFW.

Raw vegetables are better than fruit – lower in sugars, firmer in texture, and no risk of dripping on beautiful outfits. Prepare a small bag of celery, carrots, endive, cucumber batons the night before and leave in fridge until you set out – happy crunching!

For further tips, or an in depth nutrition consultation, contact Vicki directly:

www.vickiedgsonnutrition.co.uk

Animal Bravery By The Luxury Channel

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes.

Animal Bravery

PC Neil Sampson knows he is alive today thanks to Anya, his German Shepherd police dog. Despite that she is, as he describes her, “big, clumsy and like a bull in a china shop,” Anya saved Neil’s life when he was attacked by a man wielding a 6in knife. Anya fearlessly threw herself at the knifeman, placing herself in front of PC Samson, protecting him from the knife-blows raining down on them both.

Anya was stabbed through the chest – the knife narrowly missing her heart – but she did not give up, protecting her master until they were rescued. She is one of three dogs to have been awarded the PDSA Gold Medal this summer.

The PDSA Gold Medal is the animal’s George Cross, awarded to those instrumental in saving human and animal lives when their own lives were in danger, or to have demonstrated an outstanding devotion to duty.

In July, Anya, along with Staffordshire Terrier Oi, and Beagle Frodo, were presented with their medals by Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra in a ceremony at the Tower of London, which was hosted by animal-loving celeb Graham Norton.

Oi, a plucky family pet, protected her owners when a gang armed with machetes broke into their home in July 2008. Oi received a crushing machete blow to her head, leaving her with devastating injuries. Despite this, Oi continued to guard her home, forcing the attackers to flee before her owners rushed her to Thamesmead PDSA PetAid hospital. Oi made a miraculous recovery, but she sadly died of cancer earlier this year.

Frodo, a five-year-old Beagle, was known for being a “very, very naughty dog”. He chewed the letterbox off the front door, jumped out of windows and tore the heels of all his owner’s shoes. But all this bad behaviour was forgiven when one night, Frodo saved the Barwise family from their burning house.

At 2am on a May night in 2008, faulty wiring sparked a fire in the kitchen of the Cumbria home. The smoke alarm was broken and no one awoke but Frodo. Racing downstairs to the bedrooms, Frodo woke up his owner, Jenny Barwise and her parents, by barking and scratching at the bedroom doors.

However, Jenny’s husband Liam had fallen asleep on the sofa upstairs and could not hear the commotion. The roof had by this time caught fire, and as they tried to fight their way upstairs to wake Liam, the smoke and the flames pushed them back every time. But Frodo didn’t think twice. He dashed up the stairs and jumped onto Liam’s chest, waking him up and guiding him through the smoke to safety.

Frodo emerged from the fire black from nose to tail with Liam right behind him. Just moments later the burning ceiling collapsed on the sofa.

These very special dogs are just three in a long line of brave canine companions to have received this honour. Fifteen other dogs have proved themselves heroes, including a Jack Russell named George, who gave his life to protect two young children from an attack by Pit Bull terriers, as well as three Explosives Search Dogs who proved invaluable in the devastation immediately following 7/7.

The PDSA also awards the Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross, to animals serving with the Armed Forces or Civil Defence units in any theatre of war. Since 1943 it has been awarded to 63 brave animals, including 32 pigeons, 27 dogs, three horses and one cat called Simon.

www.pdsa.org.uk

Fun At Goodwood By The Luxury Channel

The fabulous Goodwood Estate played host to the Vintage At Goodwood Festival over the weekend of 13th – 15th August this year….

Goodwood fashion

Vintage At Goodwood, in partnership with watchmakers IWC Schaffhausen, celebrated five revolutionary decades of British design, music and culture.

A wide variety of events, shows and spectacles took place throughout the festival, with artists including Ronnie Wood, Mick Hucknall, The Feeling and Danny Rampling performing over the weekend.

Like Vintage At Goodwood, IWC Schaffhausen is celebrating milestones of design from the 1940s–1980s by reinterpreting their iconic models from this era to create the IWC Vintage Collection.

As pioneers of Swiss watch-making for more than 140 years, the quest for style and substance is a pillar of IWC’s philosophy and as such, they made the perfect partner for Vintage At Goodwood.

With Danny Rampling stating that “other festivals could learn a thing or two from Vintage” and Norman Jay MBE describing the weekend as “the best festival I’ve played in a very, very long time,” it’s certainly not one to miss next year!

www.vintageatgoodwood.com

www.iwc.com

Al-Fresco Opera By Reena Patel

An outdoor opera in the courtyard of 51 Buckingham Gate.

The Courtyard at 51 Buckingham Gate invited The Luxury Channel to an indulgent al-fresco dinner under the stars and spectacular opera performance.

Set in a Victorian courtyard at the prestigious Taj Suites and Residences (of which I am a huge fan of since my stay at the idyllic Taj Holiday Village Resort in Goa), this secluded spot made the perfect respite for an operatic night to remember. Featuring an ornate fountain in the centre, flowerbeds and a Shakespearean frieze on the facade of the buildings, this enchanting hacienda transported us to a tranquil haven in the heart of the city.

As we sipped on chilled champagne and sat down to a fine lobster and salmon terrine starter on the veranda, the Covent Garden Strings Company began the first of its four captivating acts. Each delightful scene presented a clever combination of interactive, jovial comedy coupled with the cast’s incredible musical talents. Full of recognisable arias and entertaining ensemble pieces from across the genre, it was a superb attempt to make opera easily accessible to all.

The second part of the a-la-carte terrace menu (inspired by Michelin starred chef, Sriram Aylur at south Indian restaurant, Quilon) was served: a scoop of Pimm’s sorbet to refresh the palate.

We later tucked into a hearty main course of gin braised lamb shank in an olive passatta with chargrilled Mediterranean vegetables and a truffled herb mash. A great selection of wines, including a fruity Chilean red, wonderfully complemented each course to enhance the flavours. For dessert, a deliciously creamy panna cotta with strawberry compote was served as we watched a classic romantic scene from West Side Story being performed on the balcony. Next followed an eclectic mix of vocal pyrotechnics, wild strings and a touch of Last-Night-at-the-Proms for a lively grand finale!

51 Buckingham Gate
Taj Suites & Residences
London SW1E 6AF

Telephone: 020 7769 7766

www.51-buckinghamgate.com

The Complete History of Food By The Luxury Channel

Corvoisier presents: The Complete History of Food with Bompas and Parr.

History of Food

Imagine enjoying foods prepared by Michelin Star chefs served inside the stomach of an dinosaur or ricocheting off the walls of a bouncy castle room that resembles the inside of a human stomach. As bizarre as this all sounds, this is what Bompas and Parr have created as part of ‘The Complete History of Food’ across a 5-storey, Belgravia House.

Rarely do we spare a moment to contemplate the historical journey that has transported food from the medieval banquet table to the food on our plates today. As the gastronomic event unveils, guest enjoy a walk-through, multi-course dining experience while exploring key revolutionary periods, such as the Medieval, the Renaissance and Victorian ages.

Upon arrival, visitors receive a calming elixir before crossing the unorthodox, shallow, indoor lake which played home to a batch of eels before enjoying a Courvoisier laced cocktail. Guests also sampled a savoury take on a confectionary classic, the Ferrero Rocher. Equally eccentric were the accompanying drinks, deconstructed champagne cocktails where the bubbles and the beverage were served up entirely separately.

Finally guests arrive in a playfully pink and peach room in front of a giant revolving cake, offering a plethora of dessert jellies complete with ambergris (i.e. whale vomit that tasted strangely like vanilla) and sugar sculptures. Together with Steven Gage, Professor of Innovative technology at the Bartlett School of Architecture, designer Sam Mc Elhinney and neuroscientists from the Wellcome Trust, Bompas & Parr provided jellies that change colour and wobble in response to your body’s autonomic system.

The experience is entirely unique, a decadent delight that breaks any boundary that ever existed between food, science, history and architecture.

Tickets £25 from www.summerofpunch.com/signup

www.jellymongers.co.uk

Give Landmines the Boot By The Luxury Channel

MAG (Mines Advisory Group) is arranging a high-profile celebrity choe auction on eBay between Thursday 22nd July and Sunday 12st August 2010.

Give landmines the boot

The A-list stars taking part in “Give Landmines the Boot” includes the likes of Alan Shearer Roger Federer, Cherie Blair, Katy Perry, Nelly Furtado and Pink, as more than 60 pair of celebrity shoes are up for grabs.

MAG is an impartial humanitarian organisation that clears the remnants of conflict for the benefit of communities worldwide. Since it was founded in 1989, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning landmine charity has operated in over 35 countries, and is currently operating in for example Afghanistan, Angola, Gaza and Iraq.

The idea behind the shoe auction is to draw attention to the part of the body most vulnerable to landmines. All the money raised from the auction will go straight to the charity’s global operations.

For more information and a full list of celebrities, just visit:

www.maginternational.org/boot

Royal Ascot 2010 By The Luxury Channel

Fashion and racing – far too good to be missed!

Ascot Fashion Show

Attending a fashion show at Royal Ascot does little to ease the stress surrounding what dress to wear and the choice between a hat and a fascinator. However, fashion and the races is a potent mix – far too good to be missed.

Located on the top floor of the triple-decker marquee, The Bessborough Restaurant provided panoramic views of the racecourse, a lively atmosphere and a much appreciated amuse-bouche of Bloody Mary with green tobacco and salted celery straws upon arrival. The restaurant hosted a plethora of Great British talent ranging from the three-time winner of British Designer of the Year, Dame Vivienne Westwood, to emerging talent Mary Katrantzou.

The starters, of beetroot and Tsar salmon served with a horseradish jam, arrived just as the first of the shows began. Dame Vivienne Westwood dazzled diners with her infamously, edgy touch, as she showcased some of her signature pieces from Spring/Summer 2010 Gold Label Collection. Amanda Wakeley, OBE, proudly displayed an Indian inspired collection of draped sunset-coloured silks, belted gowns, unstructured blazers and a sequinned jumpsuit. Whilst, Ascot favourites GIEVES and Hawkes, paraded a collection of exquisite morning and dinner Suits fresh from Savile Row. Meanwhile, Mary Katrantzou wowed the ensemble with her wearable art and milliner Stephen Jones, exhibited examples of that Ascot essential, the hat.

During the shows guests enjoyed a five-course meal including a delightful selection of lemon deserts and a plate of British cheeses which rounded things off just before HRH The Queen’s arrival. Then, it was off to the parade ring to see what fine thoroughbreds this year had to offer.

www.ascot.co.uk

A Decade of Drawings By The Luxury Channel

For many art-lovers, the beginning of July is a date in the diary as the Master Drawings London, a series of exhibitions across the capital, gets up and running. It also represents an opportunity to nourish one’s collection as the exhibition is timed to coincide with the major auction houses opening their doors to begin their major drawings sales. The exhibition spans St. James’s, Mayfair and Bloomsbury and incorporates works from The Renaissance to the present day.

2010 marks the year that Masters Drawing London celebrates its tenth anniversary. Inspired by Crispian Riley-Smith, the event has flourished over the years to the point where Master Drawings New York, the sister event, has been launched across the pond. Master Drawings London takes place from the 3-9th of July across twenty of London’s finest art houses.

India Business Forum 2010 By The Luxury Channel

A conference is being held at Christies’ in St James’, London on the 22nd July 2010 highlighting the significant opportunities for both Indian and UK companies in the emerging sectors of sports, lifestyle and luxury in India.

BIF

India’s enormous economic strides have made global headlines and some of the new sectors that will continue this growth are sports, lifestyle and luxury.

IPL has made cricket into a billion-dollar sport and luxury brands such as Armani, Versace, Rolls-Royce and Cartier already well-established in India. However these are nascent markets with huge growth potential and many opportunities for both Indian and UK companies with expertise to work together in the coming years.

High profile speakers from these industries will outline the current situation in these sectors and highlight the significant opportunities for both Indian and UK companies.

Attendees will include business executives, Government representatives, sports rights owners, media and luxury brands, from both Indian and the UK. There will be Keynote speeches, panel sessions and interactive questions and answers from delegates followed by a cocktail reception with networking opportunities.

Confirmed speakers including the following:

Amin Jaffer, Director, Indian Art, Christie’s

Subodh Agrawal, Founder, Euro Max Capital

Tushar Das Ghose, Microsoft, Strategic partner consultant

Fiona Sanderson, Managing Director, the Luxury Channel

Ishan Saksena, Chairman, QPR FC

Arunava Chaudhuri, CEO, IndianFootball.com

Ridhika Batra, UK Director, (FICCI)

Ashis Ray, Journalist and author

Farid Haque, Global Markets, Accenture

Sangeeta Datta, Film Producer

Vijay Goel, Partner, Singhania

For more information and to book your tickets please contact Renu Sen on 0870 404 4100 or renu@celebrasian.co.uk

Quote The Luxury Channel and receive a preferential rate on your ticket price.

We look forward to seeing you there.

The Woman Behind Amber Lounge By The Luxury Channel

The Luxury Channel interviews Sonia Irvine; Formula One events mastermind and sister of ex-Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine….

Amber Lounge

We meet Sonia Irvine in London, just a week after she put on a spectacular three-day event over the Monaco Grand Prix race weekend. Her events company, Amber Lounge, provides a luxury nightlife experience for F1 stars, sponsors, and celebrities.

Congratulations on the Amber Lounge Monaco weekend!

Thank you! It was fantastic, such a great event. We had three fantastic nights.

Amber Lounge Fashion, your charity fashion show, was really successful. I hear Heikki Kovalainen donated a huge amount?

He did. For the past three years now I have raised money for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, but this time I wanted to do something that was more socially aware, so the auction prize was very specific. It was to build 320 houses for individuals and families living with HIV. I expected to divide it into lots, so at the end of the day we would have maybe 10 different people who would contribute to building the houses, but in the end Heikki just did it all – he bid 300,000 Euros and so paid for all the houses!

Had you any idea he was planning to do that?

He was actually due to model in the fashion show, along with Lewis Hamilton and the other drivers, but he came up to me just beforehand and said ‘‘Sonia, I’m sorry but I’ve chickened out, I can’t do it!’’ So I told him it was alright and he should just take a seat and watch his girlfriend Katherine, who was also modelling in the show. Anyway, that is why he had done it – he had to be out at the front so that he could bid in the auction.

Amber Lounge

You were a physiotherapist with your own practice before becoming your brother’s physio. How did the transition from F1 physio to Amber Lounge mastermind come about?

A good physio needs people skills and the ability to analyse problems. You solve problems as a physio, that’s just what you do. When I moved into F1, I ended up doing physio for my brother and the Ferrari team, and I also ended up managing his businesses, running his PR schedule, doing a lot of things – I think in those four years, I crammed in eight years of work! So when Eddie moved to Jaguar in 2000, I decided it was time for me to stop and do something different. The launch of his book and the launch of his TV programme was the last work I did for my brother, and while I was organising that, I was approached to negotiate sponsorship deals with drivers. Then I did some consultancy, running black tie events, and it just evolved from there. I realised there was a need for something that all the teams and all the drivers could enjoy, where they could all come together in an environment that didn’t affiliate itself with anyone in particular – and so Amber Lounge was born.

So you were uniquely placed to do something like this?

Formula One is like a big family – every two weeks we meet up somewhere else, so we’re all close, we socialise and they have became my friends. I think partly they pitied me – I worked hard and I gained a lot of respect. So when Amber Lounge came along, they all turned up – Ron Dennis, Flavio Briatore – they were very, very supportive of me. The first year I did Amber Lounge, I was selling thin air – I had no pictures to do a brochure; it was built on trust and reputation. But it was a success.

You’ve taken Amber Lounge to Abu Dhabi and Singapore now – any plans to expand it further?

I do four Amber Lounges a year. I’ve done Barcelona, Monaco, Singapore and Abu Dhabi. When I bring on a new event, I drop an old one. I want to keep them exclusive. I want everyone to look forward to the event.

Why Singapore and Abu Dhabi in particular?

Monaco is the mother event, but Singapore was the first night race so it was exciting. It was definitely the right choice; the people there are very commercially-minded, they do what they say what they’re going to do, and the tourist board worked with us very well. Abu Dhabi is just an exciting place and the circuit they built has to be one of the best circuits in the world – and it’s the last race of the season, of course, so we wanted to go out with a bang.

Amber Lounge

Are you planning to expand Amber Lounge in the future?

I’ll stay with four events a year in F1, but we’ve also been approached to do Amber Lounge events outside of Formula One – in football. Hopefully we’ll be launching that soon, so there’s going to be a lot coming up with that and India.

For more details, visit www.amber-lounge.com.

One to Watch By The Luxury Channel

To coincide with the FIFA Wordl Cup 2010, Corum Timepieces has announced the inception of a business partnership with the Professional Footballers’ Association.

One to Watch

The eyes of the world this summer have been on South Africa as it plays host to the Fifa World Cup. To coincide with the occasion, Corum Timepieces has announced the inception of a business partnership with the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA). Corum is set to become the official, luxury watch supplier to the PFA and hopes the partnership will raise awareness of the brand throughout the UK.

Dubbed ‘one to watch’ in South Africa, PFA Young Player of the Year 2010, James Milner has also pledged his allegiance to the brand, announcing the ‘Corum Ti-Bridge’ (valued at £10,200) to be his watch of choice. Already established as a favourite among some of Britain’s other top athletes, including Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie and legendary golfer Mark Roe, Corum is said to be quite simply ‘delighted’ at the newly formed bond with the hotly tipped young player.

Corum, established in 1955, has become renowned as an exclusive brand giving pride of place to precious metals and combining horological complications with a sharp sense of style. Milner’s talent mirrors their idea of high end technicality and unique style making him the perfect choice to fly Corum (and England’s) flags high in South Africa this summer.

www.corum.ch

The Hottest Summer Events By Lauren Steventon

Summer Events 2010

Hot-footing and jet-setting it from one social event to another this summer? Make sure you know the best address to lay your head and recuperate between engagements.

Cartier International Day

Guards Polo Club, Surrey, UK
25 July 2010

The polo event of the summer. Glamorous, beautiful and impeccably dressed – and that’s just the players. The see-and-be-seen event of the summer with hospitality from Cartier during the day and China White during the night. Excellent matches from talented teams – but that’s only half the fun. The great and good from the polo and celebrity worlds descend on Guards Club for a fashion-fabulous sporting day.

www.guardspoloclub.com

Where To Stay: Coworth Park is set in 240 acres of rolling greenery on the edge of Windsor Great Park. A traditional country house hotel with a fabulous spa and its own polo fields if you’re feeling inspired.

Salon Privé

London, UK
21 – 23 July 2010

One of London’s most stylish summer events, Salon Privé brings the world’s hottest super cars into the refined Georgian surroundings of the Hurlingham Club. If you’re more into shopping than speeding, hit the luxury brands tent, or simply admire the outfits while sipping champagne on the lawns.

www.salonprivelondon.com

Where To Stay: You might think the cars are the stars, but fashion is always pulling focus, so make sure your evenings are equally chic at Anouska Hempel’s exquisitely and interestingly designed Blake’s Hotel.

Skandia Cowes Week

Isle of Wight, UK
31 July – 7 August 2010

Trade your wispy frocks for windbreakers, and don your yachting finest for this annual regatta on the Isle of Wight. Around 8,500 competitors – ranging from Olympians to amateurs – compete in 40 daily races while spectators enjoy street theatre, entertainment and a fun-for-all atmosphere on shore. One of the top UK sporting events and one of the largest sailing regattas in the world.

www.cowesweek.co.uk

Where To Stay: The George in Yarmouth is a sea-side, classic stay overlooking the Solent.

Summer Events 2010

Benicassim International Festival

Benicassim, Spain
15 – 18 July 2010

Forget muddy wellies and soggy tents, the way to enjoy the summer’s music festivals is to take to the sunshine. An hour from Valencia, Benicassim is Europe’s coolest musical treat. Bands gracing the stage for 2010 include Kasabian, Gorillaz, Calvin Harris and Vampire Weekend, but as well as music, the festival is a celebration of film, art and dance.

www.fiberfib.com

Where To Stay: To really immerse yourself in the atmosphere, the best option is to camp, but once the party’s over, head to Barcelona (two and a half hours away) and continue it at the funky W Barcelona.

Venice Film Festival

Venice, Italy
1 – 11 September 2010

More classy than Cannes and sunnier than Sundance, the Venice Film Festival, part of La Biennale di Venizia is a star-studded celebration of film as art form and business. It’s the oldest film festival in the world, and its awards are coveted by Hollywood’s great and good. The official line-up is announced at the end of July…watch this space…

www.labiennale.org

Where To Stay: Live like a movie star and secrete yourself away at the impossibly romantic Ca Maria Adele, where Venetian style meets Eastern chic.

Burning Man Project

Black Rock Desert, Nevada, US
August 30 – September 6 2010

The ultimate destination for free-spirited, arty self-expression…

Anything goes – and we mean anything, whether that’s naked people painted blue, all-night parties, performance pieces, or simply sitting back and chilling in the desert. The Project is about community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance – entirely participant-led, creating a temporary community in the middle of the Black Rock Desert. This year’s art theme is Metropolis, exploring the past and present of civilisation and city life.

www.burningman.com

Where To Stay: Well, there’s only one option during the festival – on site. A camper van would be the top option as you have to take enough food and drink to sustain you (and to barter with) for your stay, and to remove all of your rubbish afterwards. The theme camps as much art installations as they are accommodations. Splash out afterwards at the new Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas. It’s a non-gaming property and the perfect place to escape the frenetic city.

World Cup Fever By The Luxury Channel

The Luxury Channel interviews Chantelle Kidd from V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, about the impact of the World Cup on a host city….

V&A Waterfront

As one of Cape Town’s best-known tourism jewels, and a neighbour to the Cape Town Stadium, the V&A Waterfront is a prime catchment area for locals and visitors in search of the football experience.

What did you think when you heard that South Africa was going to host the World Cup?

The importance of the World Cup for our nation is the legacy that the event will leave. The World Cup allows us to support the country and showcase and change the world’s perception of the country. The benefit for all will be an increase in tourism numbers going forward, providing sustainable economic stimulus.

What additional measures have you taken to prepare for increased tourism during the World Cup?

Over and above being accustomed to sizeable crowds during peak seasons, the V&A Waterfront undertook a series of stress-testing exercises to ensure that it was prepared – such as the various sporting test events at the stadium. There have also been significant upgrades to safety and security, cleaning, lighting, access routes and parking facilities following comparative risk assessments based on valuable lessons learnt at the football World Cup in Germany.

V&Waterfront

What impact has the World Cup had on Cape Town and the V&A Waterfront in particular?

The V&A Waterfront is an historic landmark and one of Africa’s most visited cultural destinations. Its prime positioning, which boasts panoramic views of the ocean, city bowl and mountain peaks, has earned it numerous local and international awards. The V&A Waterfront is a hub of World Cup excitement. Our reputation as a safe shopping and entertainment destination, where locals and internationals rub shoulders, has put us at the heart of the celebrations.

What is the atmosphere like when there is a fixture at the Cape Town Stadium?

The atmosphere is best described as electric! Its unique location between two world heritage sites (Table Mountain and Robben Island), set around a working harbour, just adds to the appeal.

For V&A Waterfront World Cup specific information, please visit:

www.2010.waterfront.co.za

De Grisogono’s Stars of Cannes By The Luxury Channel

This month the Luxury Channel takes an insider look at one of the Cannes Film Festivals most exclusive events.

Cannes Film Festival 2010

Prestigious watch-making and jewellery brand De Grigosno held a private affair in collaboration with German luxury car manufacturer Maybach, to honour and showcase the true talent of Cannes at the Eden Roc Hotel on Cap d’Antibes, an exclusive location off the Côte d’Azur.

More than 400 guests were in attendance featuring some of the biggest names in the industry including Cheryl Cole, Meg Ryan, Ivana Trump, Harvey Weinstein, and Naomi Campbell (just to name a few).

With such a plethora of international talent, it should come as no surprise the party continued till dawn with Hollywood’s A-listers rocking to the beats of the extravagant DJ, the Queens of Noize and Grammy award winning artist Will I am from Black Eyed Peas.

www.festival-cannes.fr

Editor’s Letter – June 2010 By Fiona Sanderson

The Luxury Channel’s Entertainment Issue

June 2010

Welcome to The Luxury Channel’s Entertainment Issue

The Royal Wedding has given us a much-needed cause for celebration. The world smiled as the colourful guests arrived, gasped with awe at Catherine’s Alexander McQueen dress, and delighted in every detail of the wedding reception from the flowers to the food.

To help you plan an equally splendid wedding or party The Luxury Channel interviewed master-florist Rob Van Helden for his tips and tricks and met the super-planners behind Quintessentially Weddings. Both understand the power of showmanship and the importance of spoiling your guests (and the bride!)

We also interviewed top London caterer Sugar & Spice who are renowned for their fresh and delicious food and met up with Hans Vandeputte – Eminent Wines’ viticulturist for some expert advice on this key entertainment ingredient!

And for those attending lots of weddings this summer The Luxury Channel has compiled Top Ten Wedding Gifts – the ideal love tokens for a newly-wed’s home.

A reminder also to let any of your recently engaged friends know about The Luxury Channel’s exciting ‘Ultimate Honeymoon Competition’ – which will send one lucky couple to beautiful Bali. The competition closes on the 31st of May 2011.

Meanwhile, on the programme front we will broadcast The Alba Truffle and A Fortune on Four Wheels, showing this May on CNBC.

Fiona Sanderson
Joint Managing Director
The Luxury Channel

More about The Luxury Channel By The Luxury Channel

The Luxury Channel is a new and exciting multimedia platform that provides compelling, high quality TV programming and videos, trendsetting online editorial, and an outstanding range of high-end retail products.

The Luxury Channel provides a full range of expertise and experiences for our television and web audience. The Luxury Channel launched its first series of documentaries in 2007 exclusively on CNBC – the leader in financial and business news television. In 2008, we continue our luxury lifestyle programmes airing as part of the “Luxury Life” series on CNBC. TheLuxuryChannel.com provides up-to-the-minute articles, news and trends on the most sophisticated and smartest goings-on in the world of luxury.

Since its launch the company has established an enviable and deserved reputation as the key platform for news and information on luxury, working with most of the major luxury brands and leading financial bodies such as American Express. In addition, The Luxury Channel has strategic media partners such as the FT and the International Herald Tribune. Later this year The Luxury Channel intends to launch a new channel in the Middle East.

The Luxury Channel can help you reach your high net worth customers around the world with a variety of integrated sponsorship and advertising solutions – both on-air and online. If you would like further information, please contact us on (0) 207 731 6191 or at info@theluxurychannel.com.

A Life of Style By The Luxury Channel

Grace Kelly, style icon, at the V&A.

A Life of Style - Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly’s life was a fairytale of the truest sort: the Hollywood career, the royal husband – and then the tragic death. Like every fantasy, it was costumed with exceptional pieces from the eras highest fashion houses, complementing Kelly’s natural elegance and sense of chic. The V&A and Van Cleef & Arpels play tribute to one of the twentieth centuries most stylish ladies this month, with a new exhibition dedicated to her most fashionable moments.

The epitome of 1950s Hollywood elegance, Kelly was renowned for her beautiful clothes and accessories. The exhibition will feature over 50 of her outfits – including the original Hermes ‘Kelly’ bag – dresses from her films, her wedding outfit and haute couture gowns from the likes of Balenciaga, YSL and Dior.

Accompanied by film clips, posters and photographs – and the Oscar she won in 1955 – the exhibition gives visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the fairytale world that was Grace Kelly.

17 April – 26 September 2010
Fashion, Room 40, Victoria & Albert Museum

www.vam.ac.uk

Luxury Brand Management in China By The Luxury Channel

Luxury in China – The Facts

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In 2008, China had 415,000 High Net Worth Individuals with at least US$ 1million in financial assets, an increase of 20% over the previous year.

The Chinese spend three times longer shopping than those in the US or France.

China is the only market in the world where the market for ready-to-wear for men, exceeds that of woman’s wear.

75% of all watches purchased are gifts.

Dry red wine represents 68% of all wine sold in China.

On February 26th FDKG ran a half-day conference focused on “Luxury Brand Management in China”. Held at the RIBA in London, the speaker was Dr Pierre Xiao LU, Professor at Fudan University in Shanghai and Visiting Professor of Marketing in LVMH Chair in ESSEC Paris, a twice-published author in the subject, a speaker at conferences and advisor to international brands for their China affairs.

The first session focused on the market and its potential for luxury brands, while the second session considered the more practical issues of how luxury brands could address the market. Attendees were given facts and figures about the size of the luxury market in China, and the associated challenges they would face in gaining a strong position in the market. This was followed by a review of luxury clients and consumer typographies.

In the second session Dr Lu discussed the subjects of distribution, selective retailing and brand positioning and communications, which were followed by comments and observations with regard to brand protection and legal issues. The figures and graphs used by Dr Lu are available in his two books; Elite China and Luxury China.

Luxury Channel News, June 2010 By The Luxury Channel

Business as usual

British Airways has launched a new, exclusively business-class service from London City Airport to New York’s JFK. The twice-daily service will use Airbus A318 aircraft and is the first British Airways route to allow customers to send emails and texts and use the internet, via an inflight communications system. Willie Walsh, CEO, explained, “Our long tradition of delivering innovative service continues with the launch of this unique route. For the first time, the City has a tailor-made premium service to New York on its doorstep offering the most productive use of time for business people travelling between two great financial districts. New York is the most demanded destination that is not currently served from London City. The new route is a key growth opportunity for us and demonstrates the premium nature of London City Airport.” Other benefits include the option of checking in just 15 minutes before the flight takes off, and passing through US customs in the same way as a domestic arrival, having cleared immigration during a brief stop at Shannon Airport in Ireland. Food on the flight has been developed with critically-acclaimed Roast restaurant located at Borough Market in London.

Jimmy Choo

Jimmy Choo has signed a new fragrance deal with Inter Parfums. The 12-year partnership will officially begin at the start of 2010 and will see the creation, development and distribution of Jimmy Choo fragrances by the Paris-based perfumer. Jimmy Choo has previously been involved in a fragrance agreement with Selective Beauty, but no Jimmy Choo perfume was ever produced. Tamara Mellon, Founder and President, said, “It has always been my vision to accessorise the woman, and fragrance is an integral part of that modern wardrobe. Through the association with Inter Parfums I look forward to bringing this important aspect of my vision to life.” Inter Parfums works with other luxury brands including Burberry, Lanvin, Paul Smith and ST Dupont.

The number of Chinese travelling is growing

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce reported that 228 million Chinese left home during the first week of October – a national holiday marking the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic – marking a 28.5% increase year-on-year. During this time $14.75bn was spent on travel, up 26.5%. Beijing was reported as being the top destination, with 15 million visitors, a 59% year-on-year increase followed by Shanghai, Hanzhou and Chengdu. During the period nearly 600,000 visited Hong Kong and 420,000 went to Macau.

The TAG luxury stock index

Year-to-date (as of 16/10/09), the TAG Luxury Stock Index is up 50.1%, outperforming the major market indices (year-to-date, the S&P 500, France CAC 40, FTSE 100 and Japan Nikkei 225 were up 20.4%, 18.9%, 17.1% and 15.8%, respectively).

Over the last month (since 16/9/09), luxury stocks have continued to outpace the broader market: the TAG Luxury Index increased 4.5%, higher than the major global stock indices, which rose, on average, 1.2%. The biggest gains were registered at Burberry (+16.5%), Swatch Group (+11.3%), and Tiffany (+8.5%), while Escada (-17.9%) and Hermès (-2.2%) witnessed the only declines during the month.

So far in 3Q09, we have started to see confirmation of an improvement in topline trends vs 2Q09 from a wide sample of our luxury names. Burberry reported a 2Q10 (CY3Q09) constant-currency sales decline of (5%) vs 8% last year, reflecting a sequential improvement at both its retail and wholesale divisions. Meanwhile, LVMH’s Fendi brand reported an uptick in US sales in early September and noted that August was better than July. Additionally, Tod’s indicated that September sales grew in the singledigits vs (1.5%) in 2Q09, while Bulgari noted that 2H09-to-date sales have improved significantly from (28.9%) in 1H09 at both retail and wholesale. These data points give us increased confidence in our outlook for a sequential uptick in sales as most of our luxury names lap significantly easier comparisons in the back half of the year (especially in 4Q09).

Fiona Sanderson wins Best Journalist By The Luxury Channel

The Luxury Channel’s Fiona Sanderson wins best journalist award at Luxuria 2009.

London (26 June 2009) – Fiona Sanderson, co-managing director of The Luxury Channel, won the Best Journalist award earlier this week at the first annual Luxuria awards. The awards were held by the Luxury Marketing Council Europe in association with The Wall Street Journal Europe at the Orangery Gallery in Holland Park.

The Luxuria Awards were created by the Luxury Marketing Council Europe to recognize excellence in luxury design, manufacture, retail and communications. The nominees in 15 categories were judged on their originality, relevance and craftsmanship. The judging panel was made of up of 21 leading figures from the world of luxury, including designers, business leaders, hoteliers and broadcasters. Chairman Bill Bachle gave out the awards after an evening of celebrating the best of European luxury.

On winning for best journalist, Sanderson said, “I was delighted to accept the award from the Luxury Marketing Council Europe. It always feels great to be recognised for your efforts.” She continued, “I also believe the event is a good indication that despite the recession, luxury and appreciation of the finer things is alive and well.”

With a thorough knowledge of the television and film industry spanning some 20 years, Fiona has had a wide and distinguished career culminating in her present role as Joint Managing Director of The Luxury Channel. She was responsible for producing a number of award winning television programmes for channels such as Discovery and National Geographic. They include titles such as ‘The Rhino War’ and ‘Ivory Wars’, both of which generated considerable publicity and helped change policy. The Luxury Channel has strategic media partners, such as the Financial Times and the International Herald Tribune. Later this year The Luxury Channel intends to launch a new channel in the Middle East.

For Editors

The Luxury Channel is a unique multimedia platform providing the ultimate in luxury lifestyle programming. Our television documentaries, videos and online content focus on the events, experiences and products that appeal to a discerning worldwide audience.

Our award-winning producers and directors deliver a 360º view of luxury via CNBC, the global leader in business news, as part of the CNBC Life series. Our programmes are also seen in five-star hotels, first class airport lounges and online at www.theluxurychannel.com.

For more information, please call Damian on +44 207 985 9050 or email: info@theluxurychannel.com

Formula 1 Takes To The Runway By The Luxury Channel

The annual Amber Fashion Show in Monaco saw F1 drivers take to the catwalk to model for charity….

Amber Fashion Show

Formula One swapped the roar of the engines for the clinking of cocktail glasses in Monaco this week for the MARTINI® sponsored Amber Fashion Show at the luxurious Le Meridien Beach Plaza Hotel.

Stars from the world of sport, film and fashion joined Royalty at the annual Amber Fashion Show. Sir Richard Branson, Olympic track legend Michael Johnson, tennis ace Boris Becker and Little Britain comedy star David Walliams were among the glittering guest list who joined HSH Prince Albert.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone led the star-studded names from the sport along with reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton, current title pacesetter Jenson Button, Giancarlo Fisichella, Adrian Sutil, Mark Webber, Nelson Piquet, Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel.

It was a family affair for Bernie Ecclestone with daughter Petra, as the leading championship contender Jenson Button swapped the track for the catwalk to model her latest FORM range of menswear.

It was then the turn of the F1 wives, girlfriends and daughters (pictured above) to add their touch of glamour to the evening. Jenson Buttons’ girlfriend Jessica Michibata was joined by Heikki Kovalainen’s partner Catherine Hyde and the Amber Lounge founder Sonia Irvine who, alongside a host of supermodels, then paraded around the hotel’s swimming pool overlooking the Cote D’Azur in Elizabeth Hurley Beach swimwear and show designer Jimmy Choo’s latest collection.

Actress and model Elizabeth Hurley, never one to shy from the cameras, was on hand, with her husband Arun Nayar, to ensure her swimwear range got the best exposure.

Celebrity auctioneer Charlie Ross then sold a Morocco-inspired bar to Prince Albert for a winning bid of 10,000 Euros, whilst Martini’s global brand ambassador Giuseppe Gallo Giuseppe used his cocktail-making skills to mix a drink for American beauty Jessiqa Pace.

The biggest winning bid of the event was 145,000 Euros for an intimate dinner for ten people with Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish at their villa in the South of France.

Organised by Sonia Irvine, founder of Amber Lounge and sister of F1 legend Eddie Irvine, the annual event raised 340,000 Euros for the Elton John Aids Foundation.

www.amber-lounge.com

Luxury Goes Digital By Fiona Sanderson

Fiona Sanderson, joint MD of The Luxury Channel, discusses how the global luxury industry has not only embraced the Web but sees it as a major player in global brand extension.

Luxury Goes Digital

Just two clicks into the Chanel web site and you’re aboard a luxurious night train departing Paris in the newest Chanel No. 5 movie starring Audrey Tautou and directed by Jean Pierre Jeunet. Four clicks into the Versace site and the 2009 Spring/Summer Collection launch begins streaming in near perfect clarity. After the slowest of starts, the global luxury industry has not only embraced the web, it is seeing it as a major player in global brand extension.

The slowest of starts?

Ten years ago, luxury brands on the web were defined more by their absence than presence, and pioneers – like LVMH and Aquascutum – could almost be counted on one hand. Five years ago, the average download time was 19.6 seconds, but Versace took 97.3 seconds to download and Burberry at 102.3. Luxury brands were faced with how to maintain their exclusivity while exposing themselves to the openness of the Internet, plus their OSFD – Obsessive Store Fixation Disorder — which saw the likes of Prada ploughing $83-million into their Epicenter store in Tokyo and $40-million into their New York flagship. Symptoms of OSFD include the belief that the luxury brand experience must be touchy-feely and restricted only to Xanadu-like emporia. Brands were unsure they could recreate that in-store, personal experience online, keeping existing customers happy and attracting new ones, all while protecting their brand image.

The Internet proved them wrong

In 2004, growth in internet searches for jewellery exploded by 1,290%, watches by 372% and perfume by 300% – that’s compared to 83% for CDs and 49% for books. More revelatory was who was buying, where the research company Ledbury found that 47% of affluent purchasers had bought a product over the net costing more than £250, compared with only 16% of their less well-heeled counterparts. Significantly, according to the Ledbury research, 77% of affluent purchasers did not agree that a luxury brand becomes less exclusive if it sells its goods online.

Today, the wealthy are virtually all online. In most developed countries, internet usage among the affluent is 95%-plus, and most enjoy the online luxury brand experience. Along with penetration and bandwidth speed, the evolution of almost instantaneous video streaming and the realisation that every computer screen is also a personal cinema made this possible. In 2006, Chanel shelled out $14 million for their ground-breaking Moulin Rouge epic, and every luxury good marketer realised that in addition to the television and cinema advert audience, millions more would watch the full three-minute version on YouTube. The $14-million budget was actually a bargain!

Luxury Goes Digital

Video has become a critical part of any luxury brand extension. It can show off the incredible craftsmanship of a Louis Vuitton or Breguet where users watch videos highlighting design and manufacturing. At the Yves Saint Laurent website, the latest collections are highlighted in a series called 24hrs. Tod’s site features a short film starring the face of their brand, Gwyneth Paltrow, and directed by Dennis Hopper. On the Hermes site, whose eclectic “world of Hermes” does an excellent job of imparting brand identity to the user, one video is simply a tight 30-second shot of a woman’s be-ringed hands riffing on an electric guitar. It’s fun content created to highlight their Espionne rings and Soupçon fingerless gloves.

Next year, 2010, will see a watershed event when worldwide IPTV subscribers will exceed 20 million. Thereafter, analysts predict, it’s into the stratosphere for private video channels delivered via broadband to the most niched of niche markets. And that means the market for luxury online can only continue to grow.

Tweet Trunk – Louis Vuitton and Twitter

Louis Vuitton is taking its first steps in the world of social media with the launch of its own Twitter forum. The page will be tied to the Louis Vuitton US operation and will include Tweets on new launches, celebrity tie-ups, parties and design collaborations.

Daniel Lalonde, President and CEO of Louis Vuitton North America explained, “With this new presence on Twitter, we hope to provide not only additional customer service to our clientele, but also a unique look at all aspects of Louis Vuitton. This new forum will allow us to communicate the extensive characteristics of the brand to a broader group.”

Vuitton is also building the e-commerce offering on its US website, having recently carried outfits first exclusively online product launch.

www.louisvuitton.com

The Wallpaper* Design Awards 2010 By The Luxury Channel

The results from The Wallpaper* Design Awards, 2010.

Wallpaper*

The Ceremony

The Luxury Channel attended the Wallpaper Design Awards, 2010. Where a lively consortium of design savvy journalists and product designers came together in celebration of this years winners. Guests were greeted by an exquisite asymmetrical dress by Viktor & Rolf (the model glided around the room like an architectural ballerina) and dined on champagne and oysters.

Pedri Almodovor (Spanish film director), Kelly Wearstler (US interior designer), Steven Hall (architect), John Galliano, (Dior’s creative director), James Murdoch (CEO of News Corporation, Europe and Asia) and Carsten Holler (artist) formed this year’s illustrious and well placed judging panel.

Wallpaper magazine’s Editor Tony Chambers ‘It’s been a great year for design, creativity and innovation’ despite the economic downturn.

The Winners

Best City: New York

Best Hotel: Habita, MTY, Mexico

Best new Restaurant: Kaa in Sao Paulo

Best new Public House: Koncerthuset in Copenhagen

Best Spa: Bath House, Green T, House Living, Beijing, China by Jin R

Best Toy: Frank Lloyd Wright Collection, Lego.

Best Personal Service: Martini at the Connaught Bar, London

Best New Suite: Panoramic loft suite, hotel Saint Teresa, Rio de Janeiro

Best Ski Resort: Rocksresort, Laax, Switzerland, by Domenig Architekten

Best Men’s wear: Raf Simons

Best Women’s wear: Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garçons)

Best Furniture Designer: Konstantin Grcic

News This Week, 14th June 2010 By The Luxury Channel

It’s time to put some colour and fun back in your wardrobe

Louis Vuitton has renewed their creative collaboration with Japanese Neo-Pop artist Takashi Murakami. Previously Murakami has re-invented the famous LV monogram in bright and bold colours, merging the Louis Vuitton heritage and quality with the contemporary art scene and bringing the designs firmly into the 21st century.

This season, he’s gone one step further. Iconic Louis Vuitton designs have been reinterpreted in summery, bright block colours, interspersed with Murakami’s trademark smiling faces. The prints feature on bags, accessories, beach-clothes and bikinis.

www.louisvuitton.com

Whiskey matures into a worthy investment

£10,000 whiskey worth the 50 year wait?

Glenfiddich has released a very rare 50-year-old whiskey, priced at £10,000 per bottle (£357 a dram!). As well as the whiskey, which comes in a numbered, hand-blown bottle decorated in silver, the investor receives a gift pack including a history of the whisky and a certificate allowing the holder to visit the distillery, where David Stewart, the master distiller, said “they will be treated rather well”. Fifty bottles will be sold each year for the next decade.

Mad for menswear

John Galliano has just unveiled his first ‘urban casual’ menswear and sunglasses collections under the Galliano label, including knitwear, shirts, jackets, jeans, leather and accessories.

Hermès has opened its first men’s only store, located on Madison Avenue in New York, the four-storey flagship stocks silk ties, menswear, shoes, belts, hats and luggage.

The British designer Matthew Williamson has also launched his first menswear collection. Initially a capsule selection, the line is to be expanded each season, and includes cashmere jumpers, printed and beaded t-shirts and printed scarves.

Coach has announced plans to open its first men’s only store on Bleecker Street in New York in May 2010. Products stocked will include leather-goods, footwear, outer- wear and fragrance.

Hermés on the high seas

Wally Yachts and Hermès have teamed up to launch the new Wally-Hermès Yachts or ‘WHY’ brand. WHY aims to provide a new lifestyle of living on the sea by creating new boat designs providing maximum style, space, durability and technology. Hermès have been involved in every step of the design process, including the development of the interiors, which will be upholstered in water-resistant buffalo hide.

Talent Parade

LVMH has teamed up with Parsons School for Design to launch a competition focusing on the importance of craftsmanship. Under the competition, titled The Art of Craftsmanship Revisited: New York, designs by 23 five-person teams made up of Parsons students have already been shown. The winning students will be named in June 2010.

Taking over the world

The Soho House Group is continuing to move forward with new expansion projects following the recent launch of Dean Street Townhouse in London. This year will also see the opening of Soho House Berlin, Soho House West Hollywood and Soho Beach Club Miami.

Peace on Earth

Plans for the new incarnation of the legendary Peace Hotel building in Shanghai have now been unveiled. It has been announced that the hotel will be called the Swatch Art Peace Hotel, aimed exclusively at artists, and will have a ground floor devoted to retailing watch brands owned by the Swatch Group.

Dorchester Design

The hotel group The Dorchester Collection is aiming to build its name in the fashion world with the introduction of a new design competition. Launched in London during Fashion Week, the competition offers the winning fashion designer a prize of £25,000 and the opportunity to hold an event in any of The Dorchester Collection’s global properties.

Let them eat cake

Two Irish hospitality providers are embracing the art world to raise awareness of their product amongst new audiences. The Merrion Hotel has launched its Art Tea, an afternoon tea concept with cakes, sandwiches and pastries inspired by works of contemporary art housed in the hotel. Artists with works represented in edible form include Sir John Lavery, Jack B Yeats and Paul Henry.

More MOMO

As Beirut grows in reputation as an international hotspot, restaurateur Mourad Mazouz has announced that he is to open an outpost of his Momo concept in the Lebanese capital. Momo Souk will launch in June 2010 as a 200-cover brasserie serving French, North African and Lebanese dishes.

Middle Eastern delight

Mandarin Oriental has announced that it is to open its first Middle East hotel – a new luxury resort on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. The project is due to launch in 2013 and is being developed by the Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), which is based in Abu Dhabi. The hotel will have 160 rooms and suites, as well as 35 serviced apartments, 50 branded residences as well as lots of luxuries such as spa and private beach club.

The flavour of Florence

Il Salviatino is a new hotel in Florence that will officially launch in April this year. Created around a historic villa in the Fiesole area, the 45-bedroom hotel includes many original features, including some uncovered during the restoration. Amongst these are frescos that had been hidden under a false ceiling and a sarcophagus that has now been turned into a bath. Mosaic floors, wood panelling and glasshouses in the grounds have also been restored by local Florentine artisans.

Brand new Petrus

This month Gordon Ramsay is to open a new incarnation of Pétrus. The chef originally opened the restaurant at The Berkeley hotel where it was overseen by his protegé Marcus Wareing. However, the concept was shelved after Wareing negotiated a deal to launch his own restaurant at The Berkeley. The new Pétrus is to be launched close to its former location and will now be on Kinnerton Street in Belgravia.

Harrods

As we look for alternatives to invasive beauty procedures, Harrods is to open clinics run by specialists in non-invasive beauty experts at its Medispa Urban Retreat. Therapists setting up shop in the space include well-known practitioner of Chinese medicine John Tsagaris, who will be offering anti-ageing acupuncture, LED light masques and chrysotherapy – a Chinese facial procedure.

Sixth sense

Six Senses has launched its first Paris spa, located on rue de Castiglione, designed to serve as an urban sanctuary balancing elements of the natural world with minimalist styling. The spa’s two floors are joined by a vertical wall garden in the reception space and the treatment rooms are cocoon-shaped pods built in oak. See our review of Six Senses London Spa this week.

Unusual Sports On Snow By The Luxury Channel

Cricket in the Alps? Golf in Greenland? Metres of snow can’t stop these sports fans!

Snow sports

There are enough winter sports out there to fill up anyone’s calendar, from skiing and snowboarding to ice-skating and the luge. But some people just have to go off piste when it comes to games. You may have